The emergence of Brucella canis as a public health threat in Europe: what we know, and what we need to learn

summary of:
The emergence of Brucella canis as a public health threat in Europe: what we know, and what we need to learn
Vet discussing treatment with pet owner
Djokic, V., Freddi, L., de Massis, F., Lahti, E., van den Esker, M.H., Whatmore, A., Haughey, A., Ferreira, A.C., Garofolo, G., Melzer, F., Sacchini, F., Koets, A., Wyllie, S., Fontbonne, A., Girault, G., Vicente, A.F., McGiven, J. and Ponsart, C.
Published in:
August 2023
Type of access:

Open access

In our edition of: Dec 2023
In our categories of: small animals

our summary:

Djokic, V. et al. (2023) The emergence of Brucella canis as a public health threat in Europe: what we know, and what we need to learn. Emerging Microbes & Infections, 12 (2), no.2249126.

The aim of this review paper, authored by experts in the field, was to provide an overview of the current situation in Europe regarding Brucella canis, to bring together current knowledge and to identify any knowledge gaps. Two scenarios are used to demonstrate the limitation of current knowledge in proposing guidelines to address the emergence B. canis and the disease spread.

The paper begins with an overview of the geographic spread of cases and provides a table of European incidents of B. canis infection. It highlights identified gaps in the surveillance of B. canis and the understanding of its epidemiological status.

A comprehensive section reviews diagnostic testing including isolation and identification, both molecular detection (PCR) and indirect detection methods (serology). Further sections cover transmission, risks to human health, treatment, and regulatory control with knowledge gaps highlighted and a range of future steps suggested to identify the risks of human infection.

In each section gaps in knowledge are highlighted and recommendations are made. Recommendations include representative epidemiological surveys in Europe to assess the prevalence of the disease, the generation of guidance and reagents to support the development and adoption of best practice diagnostic methods, the identification of specific B. canis antigenic markers to develop new indirect immunologic tests for humans and improve diagnostics, and that attempts to develop a vaccine should be encouraged alongside efforts to determine the most effective treatment options.

Finally, to highlight the challenges faced by veterinary and public health services, two scenarios are provided as vehicles to discuss the management of B. canis infection in an individual dog as a house pet and in B. canis infection in kennels.

Take Home

This expert review provides a comprehensive overview of the currently available evidence on B. Canis infection. This review highlights the need for new epidemiological and experimental studies to address questions such as diagnosis of B. canis infection, different treatment options and susceptibility of bacteria to development of antibiotic resistance. The paper should be read in conjunction with any local policy and advice.

The following may also be of interest:

InFOCUS: Brucella Canis [RCVS Knowledge] [online] Available from:  [Accessed 17 December 2023]

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