The Jamaican student, who fled Ukraine with her pet cat, is now contemplating her next move, after being notified by the Jamaican agriculture ministry that the feline will only be allowed to enter the island, if certain requirements are met.
These requirements include, the cat being vaccinated against rabies, and being imported from an approved low risk country following 6 months of quarantine and residency.
Ukraine is not approved, and it’s considered high risk for rabies. Last year, the country recorded over 500 rabies cases.
Chief Veterinary Officer at the Veterinary Services Division in the Agriculture Ministry Dr. Osbil Watson, said the risk to Jamaica’s public health system is too great at this time, to import the cat from Ukraine.
Dr. Watson stressed that every step must be taken to ensure that Jamaica remains rabies free.
He explained that, part of the reason for the 6 month timeline, for residency in a low risk country, is that the animal can begin to show signs of infection at 6 months, and countries with low risk have a better track record of managing the disease.
Dr. Watson said, in this instance, an application for import permit was received yesterday, and reviewed.
Dr. Watson said the animal would have to show a certain level of antibodies before being considered for import to Jamaica.
He stressed that the process must be done in the safest manner possible.