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Human tularaemia associated with exposure to domestic dogs—United States, 2006–2016

Kwit, Natalie A., Schwartz, Amy, Kugeler, Kiersten J., Mead, Paul S., Nelson, Christina A.
Zoonoses and public health 2019 v.66 no.4 pp. 417-421
Francisella tularensis, cats, dead animals, direct contact, disease transmission, dogs, face, females, humans, monitoring, pathogens, patients, pet ownership, ticks, tularemia, veterinarians
Dogs have been implicated in the zoonotic transmission of numerous pathogens. Whereas cats are known to transmit Francisella tularensis to humans via bite and other routes, the role of dogs in facilitating infection is much less understood. We reviewed tularaemia case investigation records collected through national surveillance during 2006–2016 to summarize those with dog involvement, characterize the nature of dog‐related exposure and describe associated clinical characteristics. Among 1,814 human tularaemia cases, 735 (41%) supplemental case investigation records were available for review; and of those, 24 (3.3%) were classified as dog‐related. Median age of patients was 51 years (range: 1–82); 54% were female. Two thirds (67%) of cases presented with ulceroglandular/glandular tularaemia; pneumonic (13%) and oropharyngeal (13%) illness occurred less frequently. Dog‐related exposures were classified as follows: direct contact via bite, scratch or face snuggling/licking (n = 12; 50%); direct contact with dead animals retrieved by domestic dogs (n = 8; 33%); and contact with infected ticks acquired from domestic dogs (n = 4; 17%). Prevention of dog‐related tularaemia necessitates enhanced tularaemia awareness and tick avoidance among pet owners, veterinarians, health care providers and the general public.