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Tickborne diseases
Threat of imported diseases to UK dogs
  1. Alexander J. Trees1 and
  2. Anthony Ridge2
  1. House of Lords, Westminster, London SW1A 0AA
  2. 1 Millbank, Room 4-04, Westminster, London SW1P 3LX e-mail:

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IT gives us no pleasure to say that the recent report of four cases of canine babesiosis from Essex (one of them fatal) is not a surprise (VR, February 13, 2016, vol 178, p 172; March 5, 2016, vol 178, p 243). Since 2000 when quarantine regulations were changed and the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) introduced, there has been a huge increase in the number of dogs entering the UK – either returning travellers or new importations. Globalisation brings many economic gains and improvements in quality of life but comes at a price, and that price is a reduction in biosecurity.

In April 2000, just a few weeks after the introduction of PETS, the first travelling dog died in the UK of babesiosis contracted shortly before in France. In 2005, a fatal case of babesiosis in an untravelled dog occurred in Kent, the first apparent autochthonous case of canine babesiosis in the UK (Holm and others 2006). Now, in 2016, there are four cases in Essex within a …

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