Graduate Student Research Trainee Grant
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Brucella canis is a facultative intracellular bacterium that primarily causes reproductive disease in dogs. Since its discovery in 1966 as a cause of canine abortion, outbreaks in breeding and research kennels have been reported worldwide and the disease is considered endemic in the Americas, Asia, and Africa. Over the last five years, canine brucellosis in the United States has been increasingly recognized by many veterinary diagnostic centers as a reemerging infectious disease of dogs. B. canis is also a zoonotic threat as the organism can be transmitted to and cause disease in humans in contact with infected dogs. One of the main factors leading to the rise in prevalence is the lack of a sensitive, specific, and user-friendly diagnostic test that can provide a rapid means of disease identification. The long-term goal of the proposed study is to develop an improved diagnostic test for canine brucellosis that will provide rapid, clinically relevant information directly to veterinarians in the clinic and will facilitate the control of the disease without the need for analysis from a remote diagnostic laboratory. As B. canis is a zoonotic pathogen and no serologic test to detect this infection is currently available for humans, our new diagnostic test could have important implications for public health as well. The short-term goal is to clone and purify immunodominant antigens from Brucella canis and to evaluate their sensitivity and specificity for diagnostic test development.