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May 13, 2019

Dog disease that can be passed to humans found in U.S.

Multiple cases of canine brucellosis have been reported in central Iowa

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dog Schuylkill River park Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

A dog at the Schuylkill River dog park in Philadelphia.

Officials have confirmed multiple cases of a disease commonly found in dogs, which can be passed to humans, in central Iowa this month.

The disease, canine brucellosis, was found at a commercial breeding facility for small dogs in Marion County, Iowa, on May 10. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship announced it was in the process of alerting individuals who have custody of the exposed dogs.

Both the animals and facilities have been quarantined, the state confirmed.

Animals can pass along the disease to humans and other animals through reproductive fluids. The state said that pet owners are at a lower risk than dog breeders and veterinary staff who come in contact with blood, tissues and other canine fluids during medical procedures, like births.

According to the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation, some telltale signs of brucellosis in canines include reproductive issues like late term abortions, weak pups who die shortly after birth, and infertility. It can also cause spine or neurological disease resulting in back or neck pain.

Human infections are rare, according information from the Center for Food Security and Public Health at Iowa State University. When an infection do occur in people, it causes flu-like symptoms, joint pain, re-occurring fevers and in very few cases it can affect a person's nervous system, eyes or heart.

The American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation reported the disease is found worldwide, however it's becoming an increasing concern in North America.

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