By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Health officials are reporting confirmed ehrlichiosis in dogs in the north of Western Australia including: Halls Creek, Kununurra, the Kimberley regions of Broome and Derby, and in the Pilbara regions of South Hedland and Port Hedland.

Brown dog tick/CDC

In June 2020, the disease was also confirmed in dogs in the Northern Territory town of Katherine, and a remote community west of Alice Springs.

Owners of infected dogs in both Western Australia and the Northern Territory have been advised not to move them out of the area.

Infected dogs do not directly transmit the disease to other dogs. Transmission only occurs through infected ticks such as the brown dog tick which is widespread in Australia.

Surveillance is underway in areas where the brown dog tick is known to occur to determine the distribution of ehrlichiosis.

Investigations into the origin of the infection in both Western Australia and the Northern Territory are ongoing with no obvious leads at this time. It is possible that the disease has been present in some regions for some time.

The organism responsible for this disease is a rickettsial organism. Rickettsiae are similar to bacteria. Ehrlichia canis is the most common rickettsial species involved in ehrlichiosis in dogs, but occasionally other strains of the organism will be found.