Health

Iowa Officials Confirm 'Multiple Cases' of Dog Disease that Can Infect Humans

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Little dog with owner spend a day at the park playing and having fun. Shutterstock  Branislav Nenin

In a statement from the department, officials note the cases of Canine Brucellosis - zoonotic bacterial disease - originated "from a small dog commercial breeding facility in Marion County, Iowa".

Dogs are causing people to fall sick in Iowa according to health officials who have confirmed several cases of bacterial disease spread by canines to state residents. For most dogs owners, this makes the risk of infection low, according to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, but the risk is higher for dog breeders, veterinary staff and anyone else "who comes in contact with blood, tissues and fluids during the birthing process" of dogs.

The disease can also be transmitted "by contaminated objects such as, bedding, equipment, clothing, or shoes", according to a fact sheet from Iowa State University.

Brucellosis is considered to be highly contagious, and the bacteria that cause it can be spread between animals and humans not only by consuming uncooked or undercooked meat (obviously not a concern with pet dogs) but also through contact with any bodily fluids. It requires close contact with infected dogs.

In dogs, numerous symptoms are related to the reproductive system, with an increased risk of stillbirths and miscarriages as well as infertility.

Dealing with fever, night sweats, headaches, back pain, and other flu-like symptoms?

In the right conditions, canine brucellosis can survive for months.

Amy Heinz, with De Soto-based organization AHeinz57 Pet Rescue & Transport, said 31 dogs are quarantined at her facility. "Please pray for our sweet babies that were finally getting the chance to have a happy life", the organization wrote online.

"Persons with a weakened immune system due to disease or medication, young children, and pregnant women are likely at greater risk of developing more severe symptoms if they are exposed", the Department said in a notice.

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