Unveiling the Alarming Outbreak: Infectious Disease Now Spreading from Dogs to Humans, Urgent Measures Needed!


A Rare Canine Disease, Brucellosis, Spreads to Humans in the UK: What You Need to Know

Brucellosis, a canine disease caused by Brucella canis, has recently been identified in two individuals in the UK. Previously, this disease was only seen in dogs imported into the country. However, since 2020, it has been spreading between local dogs, according to a report released on September 18 by the Human Animal Infections and Risk Surveillance group.

Identification of Human Infections

According to the report, as of July 2023, there have been two laboratory-confirmed cases of B. canis human infection in the UK. One case was identified due to clinical suspicion after the patient presented at the hospital. The second case, although asymptomatic, was detected through follow-up of individuals exposed to positive dogs. Both incidents involved dogs that were not known to be infected at the time of human exposure but later tested positive. This is the first time dog-to-dog transmission of B. canis has been identified in the UK.

A stock image of a sick dog
A stock image of a sick dog. The bacteria B. canis has been spreading between dogs in the U.K. and has infected two humans this year.

Spread Among U.K. Dogs

This outbreak among U.K.-native dogs is believed to be the result of breeding in kennels, where contact and mating occur between imported dogs or their offspring. The disease is endemic in certain parts of Eastern Europe, particularly Romania, which is a major source of dog imports to the U.K.

B. canis is a bacteria that primarily infects dogs and is transmitted through genital, conjunctival, and oronasal mucosae during social, grooming, and sexual activities. The incubation period of the disease can range from weeks to years.

Symptoms and Complications in Humans

The report states that in humans, symptoms of B. canis infection include fever, headaches, and muscle pain. In very rare cases, complications such as endocarditis, arthritis, meningitis, and even Guillain-Barré syndrome can occur. However, there have been no recorded human deaths caused by this disease.

A stock image of Brucella bacteria
A stock image of Brucella bacteria. Brucellosis, caused by Brucella canis, was previously only seen in dogs imported into the U.K.

Transmission and Prevention

The report emphasizes that there are no reports of human-to-human transmission of B. canis. However, theoretically, transmission through blood transfusion, organ transplantation, and contact with reproductive tissues has been reported for other Brucella species, albeit in very limited numbers. Nevertheless, human-to-human transmission is not considered a common occurrence.

To prevent the spread of B. canis among dogs, the UK government is considering implementing screening measures to prevent infected animals from entering the country. The report also highlights that due to B. canis’ ability to withstand antimicrobial treatment, euthanasia is considered the only foolproof method to eliminate the risk of future transmission. However, the decision to euthanize infected dogs is ultimately up to the dog owners and their private veterinary surgeons, and alternative options such as neutering and antimicrobial treatment may be considered.


This recent outbreak of Brucella canis among UK dogs and its transmission to humans highlights the importance of vigilance in controlling the spread of infectious diseases. It also underscores the need for strict preventive measures, particularly in the importation and breeding of dogs. By understanding the risks and taking appropriate precautions, dog owners and the veterinary community can mitigate the impact of diseases like B. canis and ensure the well-being of both animals and humans.

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Micheal Kurt

I earned a bachelor's degree in exercise and sport science from Oregon State University. He is an avid sports lover who enjoys tennis, football, and a variety of other activities. He is from Tucson, Arizona, and is a huge Cardinals supporter.

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