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Jet set pets: examining the zoonosis risk in animal import and travel across the European Union

Authors Fooks A, Johnson N

Received 1 October 2014

Accepted for publication 6 November 2014

Published 18 December 2014 Volume 2015:6 Pages 17—25


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Takashi Agui

Anthony R Fooks,1,2 Nicholas Johnson1

1Wildlife Zoonoses and Vector-Borne Diseases Research Group, Animal and Plant Health Agency, Addlestone, Surrey, 2Department of Clinical Infection, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK

Abstract: Ownership of companion animals or pets is popular throughout the world. Unfortunately, such animals are susceptible to and potential reservoirs of zoonotic pathogens. Close proximity to and contact with pets can lead to human infections. The distribution of zoonotic diseases associated with companion animals such as dogs and cats is not uniform around the world, and moving animals between regions, countries, and continents carries with it the risk of relocating the pathogens they might harbor. Critical among these zoonotic diseases are rabies, echinococcosis, and leishmania. In addition, the protozoan parasites, Toxoplasma gondii and Giardia duodenalis, are also significant agents for human disease of pet origin. Considerable effort is applied to controlling movements of companion animals, particularly dogs, into the European Union. However, free movement of people and their pets within the European Union is a risk factor for the translocation of diseases and their vectors. This review considers the current distribution of some of these diseases, the risks associated with pet travel, and the controls implemented within Europe to prevent the free movement of zoonotic pathogens.

Keywords: zoonosis, companion animal, rabies, alveolar echinococcosis, leishmania

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