Deadly zoonotic leishmaniasis raises tough questions about dog culling

09/13/2013 | Slate

Public health officials in Asia, Africa, South America and Europe have long debated the use of dog culling to curb the spread of leishmaniasis, a zoonotic pathogen that can manifest in humans as the deadly visceral leishmaniasis. Some 50,000 people worldwide die from the disease annually, and dogs are thought to be a key main reservoir for leishmaniasis. However, it's not clear that culling is effective, and although veterinarians in many affected countries are required to euthanize any dog that tests positive, the test is imperfect and asymptomatic dogs may not transmit disease. Although not a major concern in the U.S., the issue has sparked a difficult debate over the science and ethics of disease control in other nations.

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