Brucellosis: Symptoms and Precautions

Brucellosis is the disease caused by the bacterial genus brucella. It is known by various names, including Mediterranean fever, Malta fever, Bang’s disease, Crimean fever, Gibraltar fever, gastric remittent fever, rock fever and undulant fever. Brucellosis  is a highly contagious disease spread from animals to humans (Zoonotic disease).

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Brucellosis is a zoonotic disease [Image Source]

How Brucellosis is spread?

Brucellosis has been recognized in animals and humans since the 20th century. Brucellosis in humans is caused by four different species of Brucella bacteria:

  1. Brucella melitensis(goats,sheep, camels)
  2. Brucella abortus (cows, buffalo, yaks)
  3.  Brucella suis (pigs)
  4. Brucella canis (dogs).

Transmission to Humans:

  • Contact with secretions of infected animals
  • Using unpasteurized milk or dairy products made from milk of infected animals.
  • Eating under-cooked meat of infected animals.
  • Contact with the placenta of infected animals  ( blood filled organ formed on the wall of the womb during pregnancy)

Symptoms of Brucellosis

The signs and symptoms of Brucellosis may vary from days to months. The symptoms  can be similar to the symptoms of other diseases and may vary from patients to patients.

The major symptoms include:

  • intermittent high fever
  • shivering
  • body aches
  • joint pain

Other symptoms may include:

  • weakness
  • dizziness
  • depression
  • irritability,
  • loss of appetite,
  • weight loss
  • cough or breathing problems,
  • chest pain
  • abdominal pain

Precautions to prevent Brucellosis

To avoid the risks of getting brucellosis the following precautions can be taken:

  • Avoid using unpasturized milk or milk products.
  • Cook meat thoroughly before consumption.
  • Use gloves, masks or take other safety precautions etc. while handling animals.
  • Vaccinate animals to eliminate brucellosis.
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