An infectious disease identified in dogs has begun to spread to humans

A dog disease that has rarely been reported in humans was found in two people in the United Kingdom

Brucellosis caused by Brucella canis was previously only seen in dogs imported into the UK, but has been spreading among domestic dogs since 2020, according to a report published on September 18 by the Human Animal Infections and Risk Surveillance group.

“As of July 2023, two laboratory-confirmed human cases of B. canis infection have been identified in the United Kingdom,” the report said. “One case was identified based on clinical suspicion after presentation to the hospital. A second case had no clinical symptoms, worked in a veterinary practice, and was identified through follow-up of individuals exposed to positive dogs. In both cases, the affected dogs were not affected.” It was known to be infected at the time of human exposure, but later tested positive.

“This incident was also the first time that dog-to-dog transmission of B. canis was detected in the UK.”

sick dog
A stock image of a sick dog. The bacterium B. canis has spread between dogs in the UK and infected two people this year.

This outbreak in dogs native to the UK is likely the result of kennel breeding leading to contact and mating with imported dogs or the offspring of imported dogs. The disease is endemic in parts of Eastern Europe, including Romania, from where many dogs are imported into the UK

B. canis is a bacterium that can infect dogs and is transmitted through the genital, conjunctival and oral mucous membranes, usually during social activities, grooming and sexual activity between dogs.

The disease has an incubation period of weeks to years, the report said. Symptoms of the disease in humans include fever, headache and muscle pain and, in very rare cases, complications such as endocarditis, arthritis, meningitis and even Guillain-Barré syndrome. No deaths from the disease have been recorded.

An archive image of Brucella bacteria. Brucellosis, caused by Brucella canis, has only been seen in dogs imported into the UK

“There are no reports of human-to-human transmission B. canis“Although this is theoretically possible, as blood transfusions, organ transplants and transmission through contact with reproductive tissue have been reported for other Brucella species, albeit in very limited numbers,” the report said. “This would generally not be considered a common route of transmission.” Person-to-person transmission.

To prevent the spread among dogs, the British government is considering setting it up B. canis Screening to prevent infected animals from entering the country. The report says that because of B. canisDespite a dog’s ability to withstand antimicrobial treatment, the only surefire way to prevent the disease from spreading in a dog is euthanasia.

“Euthanasia of infected dogs is considered the only way to completely eliminate the risk of future onward transmission,” the report said. “The decision to euthanasia rests with the owner(s) and their private veterinarian and their willingness to accept the residual risks, which will vary from case to case, if this course of action is not taken. If an infected animal is not euthanized, the dog can be neutered and treated with antimicrobials at the same time.”

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Rick Schindler

Rick Schindler is a Worldtimetodays U.S. News Reporter based in Canada. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Rick Schindler joined Worldtimetodays in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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