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Community animal health workers give a routine checkup to a goat in Uganda. Photo credit Julianne Meisner, 2016 Stergachis Endowed Fellowship for International Exchange.
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Rocky Mountain spotted fever can be deadly to both humans and dogs, but diagnosing a dog with the tickborne illness does not guarantee that the owner will be examined for it, even though he or she may have been exposed to the infection through the same environmental risk factors.

“There have been cases where dogs have been sick and the veterinarians knew about it, but because physicians never heard about it, human cases were missed, leading to some fatalities,” Peter Rabinowitz, MD, MPH, associate professor of global health, environmental and occupational health sciences, and director of the Center for One Health Research at the University of Washington, told Infectious Disease News. “If there was a mechanism for the vets to talk to the physicians, they could have alerted them to be more aware of Rocky Mountain spotted fever in their patients.”

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