What is Brucellosis?

Brucellosis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria from the genus Brucella. It is also known as undulant fever, Malta fever, or Mediterranean fever. The disease is transmitted primarily through contact with contaminated animal products, but may also be spread by direct contact with animals or through the consumption of raw milk.

Humans can contract Brucellosis when they come in contact with the bacteria. This contact can happen through inhalation, skin contact, or ingestion. In the past, the primary source of infection was through consuming unpasteurized milk or dairy products. Now, most countries have laws that require foods to be pasteurized, significantly reducing the risk of catching Brucellosis from food.

The most common signs and symptoms of Brucellosis include:

  • Fever and chills
  • Enlarged spleen and liver
  • Headache and fatigue
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Sweating and night sweats
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss

In most cases, patients are able to fully recover with appropriate treatment. The first step in treatment is usually to prescribe antibiotics such as tetracycline or rifampin. Other medications, such as doxycycline or gentamicin, may also be prescribed for longer-term treatment or for more severe cases.

Brucellosis is a serious disease that can have long-lasting health impacts, so it is important to take steps to prevent infection. To reduce the risk of contracting Brucellosis, the following steps are recommended:

  • Avoid contact with potentially-infected animals, their products, and their waste.
  • Always wash hands thoroughly after contact with animals or their products.
  • Avoid consuming unpasteurized dairy products.
  • Cook animal products thoroughly before consuming.

By taking proper precautions, we can reduce the risk of contracting Brucellosis and protect the health of both animals and humans.