Canine brucellosis in Costa Rica reveals widespread Brucella canis infection and the recent introduction of foreign strains

Marcela Suárez-Esquivel, Nazareth Ruiz-Villalobos, Warren Hidalgo-Jara, Carlos Chacón-Díaz, Ana Mariel Zúñiga-Pereira, Mario Masís-Mora, Ericka Fernández-Fernández, Gabriela Hernández-Mora, Elías Barquero-Calvo, Esteban Chaves-Olarte, Nicholas R. Thomson, Jeffrey T. Foster, Edgardo Moreno, Caterina Guzmán-Verri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Brucellosis is a prevalent disease in Costa Rica (CR), with an increasing number of human infections. Close to half of homes in CR have one or more dogs, corresponding to ∼1.4 million canines, most of them in the Central Valley within or near the cities of San José, Heredia, and Alajuela. From 302 dog sera collected from this region, 19 were positive for Brucella canis antigens, and five had antibodies against smooth lipopolysaccharide, suggesting infections by both B. canis and other Brucella species. B. canis strains were isolated in the Central Valley from 26 kennel dogs and three pet dogs, all displaying clinical signs of canine brucellosis. We detected three recent introductions of different B. canis strains in kennels: two traced from Mexico and one from Panama. Multiple locus-variable number tandem repeats (MLVA-16) and whole-genome sequencing (WGSA) analyses showed that B. canis CR strains comprise three main lineages. The tree topologies obtained by WGSA and MLVA-16 just partially agreed, indicating that the latter analysis is not suitable for phylogenetic studies. The fatty acid methyl ester analysis resolved five different B. canis groups, showing less resolution power than the MLVA-16 and WGSA. Lactobacillic acid was absent in linages I and II but present in linage III, supporting the recent introductions of B. canis strains from Mexico. B. canis displaying putative functional cyclopropane synthase for the synthesis of lactobacillic acid are phylogenetically intertwined with B. canis with non-functional protein, indicating that mutations have occurred independently in the various lineages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number109072
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Brucella abortus
  • Brucella canis
  • Brucellosis
  • Dogs
  • Evolution
  • MLVA
  • Phylogeny

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • General Veterinary


Dive into the research topics of 'Canine brucellosis in Costa Rica reveals widespread Brucella canis infection and the recent introduction of foreign strains'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this