The zoonotic risk of Brucella canis has been considered fairly high for persons who handle breeding dogs in kennels or are exposed to infected animals. Transmission to humans in other circumstances has been thought to be rare. We describe an uncommon outbreak of brucellosis caused by B. canis which, to the best of our knowledge, is the first reported in the literature. This outbreak involved six persons (three children and three adults), a bitch and three puppies which had close daily contact with the family. The clinical symptoms of the index case led to an erroneous diagnosis and the infection would have gone undiagnosed if culture had not been positive. This report aims to increase awareness of medical personnel of the need to order screening tests for children, immunodeficient persons or pregnant women presenting with fever of unknown origin, unexplained spleen or liver enlargement or other systemic signs. The emerging zoonotic potential of this disease in urban areas and the need to coordinate canine brucellosis surveillance systems should be evaluated.
(Accepted July 08 2009)
(Online publication August 05 2009)
c1 Author for correspondence: Dr N. E. Lucero, Brucellosis Service, National Laboratories and Institutes of Health Administration (ANLIS) ‘Dr. C. G. Malbrán’, Avda. Velez Sarsfield 563, 1281 Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)