2018 Survey - Canine Brucellosis in Europe

Pet animals occupy nowadays an important position in society. In European Union, the number of dogs is estimated at 61 million. Canine brucellosis is mainly caused by Brucella canis, and sporadically by B. melitensis, B. suis, and B. abortus. B. canis is an important cause of abortions and infertility in dogs, and has been recognized as the cause of significant economic loss in infected kennels. Infected dogs can transmit the disease even after the bacteremia has ceased and without presenting clinical symptoms of the disease. The zoonotic character of canine brucellosis should be considered in view of the complex relationship between dog and human population, and especially close contacts with children.

This disease remains endemic in many regions of the world, with predominance in Central and South America, in Asia and Southern USA. Various cases have been also described in countries from Europe in the last years as Austria, Finland, France, Hungary, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and UK. Some of these cases were linked with imported animals from Bosnia, Romania, Spain, and Greece.

Brucellosis caused by B. canis is not a mandatory notification disease as B. melitensis, B. abortus, and B. suis. EU regulation on the movement of animals has no dedicated measures for B. canis on live animals and/or semen exchanges. On the other hand, Australia and New Zealand (countries free from B. canis) require a test for the detection of B. canis antibodies with negative results for dogs entering the country and for the use of imported dog semen within the country. These measures are necessary for a disease control program.

Since B. canis isolation may be compromised by intermittent bacteremia, serological methods have a central role in the diagnosis of canine brucellosis. The different types of serological tests for canine brucellosis vary in sensitivity and specificity, leading to false positives and negatives, depending upon the stage of the disease and the antigen or the method used for testing. Unfortunately, none of available serological methods are diagnostically conclusive.

A survey will be launched in 2018 with following objectives:

·         Estimate sero-prevalence of Brucella in European dogs (from a multicentric survey in European kennels with reproductive problems);

·         Standardization of brucellosis diagnosis and decision tree for NRLs in dogs;

·         Potential evolution of regulation/recommendations as regards canine brucellosis (EU/OIE).

For any further information, please contact the EURL team !

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