Iowa officials have confirmed multiple cases of canine brucellosis, which can be transmitted to humans from dogs. This outbreak originated from a commercial breeding facility located in Marion Iowa.
Brucellosis is a zoonotic disease, meaning that it can be passed from animals to humans. In this case, the risk to humans is very low; they have to come into contact with reproductive fluids or blood from an infected dog, or contaminated objects like bedding or clothing. The bacterium can enter the body through mucous membranes or skin abrasions. People can also become infected when they drink raw or unpasteurized milk products from an infected goat, cow or sheep.
Canine brucellosis is caused by a bacterium, Brucella canis. It can cause behavioral abnormalities, lethargy and reproductive problems in dogs. When the bacterium infects humans, it causes flu-like symptoms, and in long term cases, it can cause arthritis and recurring fevers.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture has asked that anyone who has recently acquired a small dog from Marion County should get in touch with their veterinarian. Iowa puppies sold the dogs that may be infected at an auction. An animal rescue organization, AHeinz57 Pet Rescue & Transport Inc, has quarantined the 32 dogs they acquired, who are now undergoing testing or the infection.
Preventing infections with the bacterium is relatively straightforward, and just a matter of practicing good handwashing practices, especially after handling animals.