First woman to catch incurable disease from her dog reveals the serious symptoms she first noticed | The Sun

A GRANDMOTHER who was the first person in the UK to get Brucella canis has revealed the first symptoms she noticed.

Wendy Hayes, from Stoke-on-Trent, caught the disease from a rescue dog she was fostering last year — before health officials issued a warning this week.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs officials said the disease — which is incurable in pups — is spreading between dogs in British kennels for the first time.

Wendy caught it from a pooch imported from Belarus called Moosha in May 2022, with most cases linked to dogs from Eastern Europe.

She said she suffered a high temperature, chills, shivers, bad shakes, severe headaches, severe back ache and low blood pressure.

Her symptoms were particularly severe because she is immunocompromised.

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She said: “I went into hospital on May 23. I went to my GP because I felt quite poorly and he sent me straight up to the hospital that day.

“I hadn’t been feeling well before that, but I put it down to stress after Moosha was taken. I was moved to the infectious disease ward at Stoke Hospital. 

“I didn’t get a diagnosis until Friday because they had a very clued-up doctor who suggested it was Brucella canis.

“I was already in isolation, in infectious diseases you can’t leave your room. It was a tough time, there was no one to talk to.

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"They let me out the following Thursday, 2 June but I had the nurses coming out to me for two and a half weeks giving me five lots of antibiotics."

Moosha and Wendy's four other dogs had to be put down because of the infection.

She said: "They were the innocent party in this. I blame this rescue, and I blame the government for letting it happen and not testing.

"The impact is devastating. The life went out of the house, it didn't feel like home.

"There was a feeling of guilt as it was my choice to bring her into the house. It didn't feel like a home."

Brucella canis is a bacterial infection that can cause infertility in dogs and can also jump to humans.

Once dogs test positive, they are infected for life.

It is mainly transmitted through a dog's bodily fluids, such as urine, blood and saliva.

UKHSA officials confirmed two more human cases have been spotted since Wendy in Britain.


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It is usually found in imported dogs but has now jumped to British dogs, Dr Christine Middlemiss, chief veterinary officer at Defra, said.

All had contact with infected Romanian dogs or were the offspring of infected dogs.

What are the symptoms of Brucella canis in humans?

Symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • General discomfort
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Enlarged spleen

Source: Emerging Infectious Diseases

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