In Iowa, a Dog Disease That Can Be Passed to Humans

State confirms cases of Canine Brucellosis
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2019 12:12 PM CDT
In Iowa, a Dog Disease That Can Be Passed to Humans
Stock photo.   (Getty Images / NORRIE3699)

Dealing with fever, night sweats, headaches, back pain, and other flu-like symptoms? If you live in Iowa and are around dogs a lot, it may not be the flu, but rather Canine Brucellosis. The illness is exactly what it sounds like—a disease that typically affects dogs, but can be transmitted to humans in rare cases. The Iowa State Veterinarian has confirmed multiple cases of it in dogs in the state, and the state Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship is now warning anyone who has "recently acquired a new, small breed dog from Marion [County]" to contact their vet. A handout from Iowa State University says, among other things, to "always wash your hands after touching animals." But the good news is, most people are not at high risk for infection. The disease most often occurs in kennels and breeding facilities, the Des Moines Register reports.

The disease causes reproductive failure in dogs, and is typically spread between dogs through contact with infected birthing tissues and fluids, per the Iowa State handout. For that reason, "dog breeders, veterinary staff, and anyone who comes in contact with blood, tissues and fluids during the birthing process may be at higher risk and should consult their primary physician," state agriculture authorities say. Close contact with dogs is required for transmission. The small dog commercial breeding facility in Marion County where the disease originated is quarantined and dogs there are being tested, CNN reports. In humans, in rare cases, the disease can affect the nervous system, eyes, or heart; long-term cases can also cause arthritis and re-occurring fevers. (She saved a stray. Then, what Norway hadn't seen in more than 200 years.)

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