I've never been squeamish about letting dogs lick me. I mean, that's how they show their love, right? But maybe I should be, considering that brucellosis is a canine STD that can be transmitted to humans through — you guessed it — licking.

It's not new information that brucellosis can be transmitted from animals to humans, but many dog owners aren't aware how common the infection is among dogs in the U.S. This week, researchers revealed that they've identified the molecular target for the bacterial infection. Brucellosis (which is also often called Bang's disease or Crimean fever) affects about 500,000 people each year, commonly in the Mediterranean and Middle East. Brucellosis is more easily transmitted to people with compromised immune systems, as well as very young children.

The good news is that brucellosis most likely doesn't affect your family pet, especially if he or she is spayed or neutered. It's more of a concern for breeders, considering it's a sexually-transmitted disease that can cause infertility in dogs. The bad news is that many dogs who do have brucellosis don't show any symptoms. There are easy diagnostic tests, however, so if you're scared you or your dog is suffering from brucellosis, you should contact your vet or physician.

But, still, weird.