Researcher Calls for Enforceable Guidelines to Slow the Re-emergence of Canine Brucellosis, a Bacterial Disease That Can be Transmitted From Dogs to Humans

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The disease Canine Brucellosis is reemerging in dog populations around the world and a University of Iowa researcher suggests stronger efforts are needed to keep the infection from spreading to other dogs and to humans, too.

A new study to be published in July by Christine Petersen, assistant professor of epidemiology in the University of Iowa College of Public Health, finds that the disease is reemerging because of an increase in the number of large breeding operations, ease of movement across state and national boundaries, and little regulation of the breeding facilities or the animals that are bred there.

The disease mostly causes lingering flu-like symptoms in humans and reproductive issues in dogs. Several dogs were recently diagnosed with the disease at a shelter in central Iowa.

Petersen suggests enforceable guidelines are needed soon to keep infected dogs from being moved between facilities and across borders, preventing the disease from spreading among both dogs and humans.

“……brucellosis will remain an under-recognized threat to animal welfare and human health until there are international guidelines for infection control and management,” Petersen writes. “A good first step in this process would be for testing of any dog before interstate or international movement to be made mandatory. With this simple step, the movement of infected dogs and spread of disease would greatly decrease.”

Her paper, “Canine Brucellosis: Old Foe and Reemerging Scourge,” will be published in July in the journal Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice. Her co-author, Dr. Lin Kaufman, is a veterinarian in Grimes, Iowa.

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