In a startling development, a dog disease previously believed to be confined to canines has infected three individuals in the United Kingdom. The UK Health Security Agency has confirmed that three Britons have contracted this disease from infected animals. Government officials are also reporting its spread among animals within the UK.
DOG DISEASE; ALARMING CASE
The number of cases of this bacterial infection among dogs has seen an alarming spike, with a record-breaking 91 cases already reported this year. It is believed that these infections originated from dogs that either had contact with imported dogs or were the offspring of imported canines.
The situation has escalated significantly, with only 9 cases reported in 2020, followed by 36 in the subsequent year and 55 in 2022. As of July this year, the count has surged to 91 cases, according to HAIRS.
Public Health England, in consultation with the British Veterinary Association, is closely monitoring the situation and providing crucial guidance to veterinary professionals and organizations involved in the importation of dogs from regions where Brucella canis is prevalent. Remarkably, this is the first time the disease has been observed in canines.
DOG DISEASE; BRUCELLA CANIS
Brucella canis, a Gram-negative bacterium in the Brucellaceae family, is responsible for causing brucellosis in dogs and other canids. Notably, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has highlighted the potential for this bacterium to infect humans. Currently, there are no available serological tests to detect antibodies to Brucella canis, according to the US Health Body.
Given the incurable nature of the disease among dogs, government guidelines recommend euthanasia as the preferred course of action, as infected animals are considered carriers for life. However, for humans, effective treatment is available through an extended regimen of antibiotics.
DOG DISEASE; SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS AMONG HUMANS
According to the CDC, Brucellosis can manifest a range of signs and symptoms, including:
Muscle, joint, and back pain
Some signs and symptoms may persist for extended periods, with the possibility of reoccurrence. These can include recurrent fevers, arthritis, swelling of the testicles and scrotum area, swelling of the heart (endocarditis), neurologic symptoms (in up to 5% of cases), chronic fatigue, and swelling of the liver and/or spleen.
DOG DISEASE; TREATMENT
According to the US Health Body, once diagnosed, doctors can prescribe antibiotics. The duration of recovery may vary, ranging from a few weeks to several months, depending on the timing of treatment and the severity of the illness. Fortunately, death from brucellosis is rare, occurring in no more than 2% of all cases, as noted by the CDC.