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Daily News Analysis


21st September, 2023 Health

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Context: Three British citizens have been infected with Brucella canis, a previously unseen and incurable dog disease in the UK. The infection in dogs can cause infertility, mobility issues, and discomfort.

Brucella Canis


  • Brucella canis was first described in 1966 in the United States, where it caused mass abortions of beagles in a research facility. Since then, it has been reported in many countries around the world, especially where dogs are bred intensively or imported without testing.
  • Brucella canis is transmitted mainly through sexual contact or contact with infected fluids, such as blood, urine, vaginal discharge or semen. It can also pass from mother to pup during pregnancy or through nursing. The bacteria can survive for long periods in the environment and on contaminated objects.


  • Brucella canis is a bacterial infection caused by the microorganism Brucella canis. It primarily affects dogs but can also spread to humans. The origin of Brucella canis is thought to be zoonotic, meaning it can be transmitted between animals and humans.
  • Brucella canis is primarily transmitted among dogs through direct contact with bodily fluids, such as urine, saliva, and reproductive fluids, from infected individuals. It can also be spread through contaminated materials, like bedding or equipment. In humans, transmission typically occurs through contact with infected dogs or their secretions, although this is relatively rare.

Symptoms in Dogs

  • Reproductive Issues: Brucella canis often targets the reproductive system in dogs. In female dogs, it can lead to infertility, miscarriages, or stillbirths. In males, it may result in testicular inflammation and infertility. These reproductive complications can have a significant impact on breeding programs and the overall health of affected dogs.
  • Generalized Symptoms: Dogs infected with Brucella canis may display non-specific symptoms similar to other infections. These can include lethargy (lack of energy), fever (elevated body temperature), and weight loss. These symptoms can make it challenging to diagnose the infection solely based on clinical signs.
  • Joint and Muscle Pain: Joint inflammation and lameness can be observed in dogs with Brucella canis infection. This can cause discomfort and affect the dog's mobility. The pain and inflammation typically involve multiple joints.
  • Swollen Lymph Nodes: In some cases, infected dogs may exhibit enlarged lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are part of the immune system, and their enlargement can be a response to infection. Swollen lymph nodes can often be palpated or felt by a veterinarian during a physical examination.

Symptoms in Humans

  • Flu-Like Symptoms: Human infection with Brucella canis, known as brucellosis, often starts with flu-like symptoms. These initial symptoms include fever, fatigue, and body aches. These symptoms can be mistaken for common illnesses like the flu, making diagnosis challenging without proper testing.
  • Joint Pain: Joint pain (arthralgia) is a common symptom of brucellosis in humans. The joints, especially the larger ones like the knees, can become painful and swollen. This can lead to reduced mobility and discomfort.
  • Swelling of Organs: In more severe cases of brucellosis, the infection can affect various organs in the body. Organs commonly involved include the liver and spleen. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, hepatomegaly (enlarged liver), and splenomegaly (enlarged spleen). These symptoms can be indicative of a more advanced stage of the disease.
  • Reproductive Complications: In rare instances, brucellosis can lead to reproductive complications in women. This can include miscarriages, stillbirths, or difficulty conceiving. The bacteria can infect the reproductive organs and interfere with fertility.


  • There is no definitive cure for Brucella canis infection in dogs. Management typically involves controlling the spread of the disease through isolation and quarantine of infected animals. Infected dogs may be prescribed antibiotics to manage symptoms and reduce the risk of transmission, but complete eradication of the bacterium is challenging.
  • In humans, it can be treated with a course of antibiotics such as doxycycline and rifampin. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for a favourable outcome. Preventative measures, such as avoiding contact with infected animals and practising good hygiene, are crucial in preventing the spread of Brucella canis to humans.


  • Brucella canis is a zoonotic bacterial infection that primarily affects dogs but can be transmitted to humans. It can lead to reproductive issues in dogs and cause flu-like symptoms, joint pain, and organ complications in humans. While there is no cure for the disease in dogs, antibiotics can help manage symptoms in both dogs and humans and prevention is key to avoiding transmission.

Must Read Articles:

BRUCELLOSIS DISEASE: https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/brucellosis-disease


Q. Consider the following statements:

Statement 1: Brucella canis transmission to humans is a common occurrence.

Statement 2: Transmission of Brucella canis in humans typically occurs through contact with infected dogs or their secretions.

Which one of the following is correct in respect of the above statements?

A) Both Statement-1 and Statement-2 are correct and Statement-2 is the correct explanation for Statement-1

B) Both Statement-1 and Statement-2 are correct and Statement-2 is not the correct explanation for Statement-1

C) Statement-1 is correct but Statement-2 is incorrect

D) Statement-1 is incorrect but Statement-2 is correct

Answer: D


Statement-1 is incorrect as transmission of Brucella canis to humans is relatively rare, not a common occurrence.

Statement-2 is correct as transmission in humans typically occurs through contact with infected dogs or their secretions.