Overview Of Brucellosis

Brucellosis is a bacterial infection that occurs from contact with animals carrying Brucella bacteria.

Commonly Associated With

Cyprus fever; Undulant fever; Gibraltar fever; Malta fever; Mediterranean fever

Causes Of Brucellosis

Brucella can infect cattle, goats, camels, dogs, and pigs. The bacteria can spread to humans if you come in contact with infected meat or the placenta of infected animals, or if you eat or drink unpasteurized milk or cheese.

Brucellosis is rare in the United States. About 100 to 200 cases occur each year. Most cases are caused by the Brucellosis melitensis bacteria.

People working in jobs where they often come in contact with animals or meat — such as slaughterhouse workers, farmers, and veterinarians — are at higher risk.

Symptoms Of Brucellosis

Acute brucellosis may begin with mild flu-like symptoms or symptoms such as:

High fever spikes often occur every afternoon. The name undulant fever is often used to describe this disease because the fever rises and falls in waves.

The illness may be chronic and last for years.

Exams & Tests

The health care provider will examine you and ask about your symptoms. You’ll also be asked if you’ve been in contact with animals or possibly eaten dairy products that were not pasteurized.

Tests that may be done include:

  • Blood test for brucellosis
  • Blood culture
  • Bone marrow culture
  • Urine culture
  • CSF (spinal fluid) culture
  • Biopsy and culture of the specimen from the affected organ

Treatment Of Brucellosis

Antibiotics, such as doxycycline, streptomycin, gentamicin, and rifampin, are used to treat the infection and prevent it from coming back. Often, you need to take the drugs for 6 weeks. If there are complications from brucellosis, you will likely need to take the drugs for a longer period.