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First UK human case of Brucella canis reported

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Wendy Hayes, a 61-year-old grandmother, has become the first documented human case of Brucella canis in the UK, as reported by StokeonTrentLive.

Wendy contracted the disease from a Belarusian rescue dog she was fostering in 2022, and suffered a range of symptoms including high temperature, severe head and backaches, and low blood pressure. As a result of the infection, Wendy had to make the heart-wrenching decision to euthanize all five of her beloved pet dogs, who also tested positive for Brucella canis.

The infection is distressing and incurable and known to cause infertility in dogs. Previously, it was rare in the UK and primarily seen in animals imported from Eastern Europe. However, the UK Health Security Agency has now confirmed that the disease is spreading within the UK, with three human cases identified, including Wendy’s.

As reported by GoFido yesterday, this troubling development is accompanied by a significant increase in Brucella canis cases among dogs in the UK, with 91 cases reported this year alone.

According to a report by the Human Animal Infections and Risk Surveillance (HAIRS) group, the overall risk of Brucella canis infection among the UK population is considered low. However, as reported yesterday by GoFido, dog care professionals do face slightly higher risks due to the amount of canine-contact they have.

To counter the spread of the disease, scientists are contemplating the implementation of a screening process at the UK border to prevent infected animals from entering the country.

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