Iowa has confirmed multiple cases of a disease that can be transmitted from dogs to humans and can pose numerous health risks ranging from fever to exhaustion and inflammation of lymph nodes.
The disease, canine brucellosis, is believed to have originated from a small dog commercial breeding facility in Marion County, according to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.
The facility and its animals are in quarantine as the dogs undergo clinical testing. Meanwhile, the department has urged pet owners who recently bought a small dog breed from the area to contact their nearest veterinarian.
Canine brucellosis is a bacterial disease that can cause reproductive failure in dogs and fever, chills, fatigue and inflammation of lymph nodes in humans, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted. According to a fact sheet released by the Iowa State University, the disease is spread through direct contact or exposure to infected animal fluids or by ingesting the bacteria.
While the threat to most pet owners is considered very low, the disease is still considered a serious threat to many parts of the world. The CDC noted that it "will probably remain a threat to human health and animal welfare unless stronger intervention measures are implemented."
In the right conditions, canine brucellosis can survive for months. Iowa State University recommended disinfecting areas that have been exposed to an infected dog and keeping sick animals away from healthy ones to prevent the spread of the disease.
Protective clothing such as gloves and masks should be worn when assisting with the delivery of newborn puppies or handling reproductive tissues and hands should always be washed properly afterwards.