By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

In a follow-up on the tick-borne dog disease, Ehrlichiosis, in Australia, vets in Top End in Australia’s Northern Territory say some 1000 dogs have died of  the bacterial infection.

Rhipicephalus sanguineus
Image/US Government

ABC News in Australia report Bonny Cumming, a vet with Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities (AMRRIC) working across the Top End, said it was hard to gauge how many dogs had died from ehrlichiosis. However, she expected that by the end of the 2020-21 wet season, dog deaths would “be in the thousands.”

“What we are seeing is in some regions [ehrlichiosis] is really exploding,” Dr Cumming said. “It has a pretty high mortality rate, especially for younger or older dogs that are immune-compromised. It is really heavily impacting those dogs.

Ehrlichia canis occurs around the world, particularly in tropical and subtropical regions. Infection with E. canis (ehrlichiosis) was confirmed for the first time in Australian dogs in May 2020 in the Kimberley region of Western Australia and June 2020 in the Northern Territory. The disease has also been detected in a small number of dogs in the Gascoyne and Pilbara.

E. canis is transmitted primarily by the brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus), which is widely distributed worldwide and is present in Australia.

Ehrlichiosis requires veterinary treatment and early treatment provides the best chance of recovery.

The disease cannot be directly passed from infected dogs to humans. In extremely rare cases, ticks infected with Ehrlichia canis may infect people. However human ehrlichiosis is almost always caused by species other than Ehrlichia canis and these species have not yet been found in Australia.