What Is Brucellosis?

What Is Brucellosis?

More than 3000 people have been tested positive for brucellosis in China recently. This outbreak has been linked to a leak at a biopharmaceutical company. Brucellosis is a zoonotic disease, which means infections that are spread to humans from animals. It is an infection caused by the gram-negative bacteria Brucella. Sheep, pigs, cattle, camels, moose, deer, goats, and dogs are most commonly infected. The bacteria can spread through the air or direct contact. Brucella can also be found in the urine, blood, milk, and semen of infected animals.

How Does It Spread?

1. Consuming unpasteurized or raw dairy products, such as milk, butter, cheese, and ice cream.
2. Eating raw or undercooked meat of infected animals.
3. You can inhale the bacteria, as Brucella can easily spread through the air.
4. Direct contact with infected birthing fluids or tissues like the placenta, vaginal discharges, or aborted fetuses, can spread the bacteria. Bacteria can enter your blood through a cut or other wound.
5. Human to human transmission is rare, but women can pass it to their children during birth or while breastfeeding.
6. Rarely, this bacteria is spread through sexual contact.


Signs and Symptoms:

An infected person can develop symptoms anytime from a few days to a few months. The average incubation period is 2 to 4 weeks but can occur between 2 weeks to 2 months. The common signs and symptoms include:

1. Fever.
2. Chills and sweats.
3. Loss of appetite.
4. Abdominal pain.
5. Fatigue or tiredness.
6. Headaches.
7. Weakness.
8. Joint and muscle pain.

In some, the symptoms can disappear for weeks or months and then recur. And some patients can experience these symptoms for years, even after getting treated.


This infection can affect almost all the organs in your body. Long-term or chronic brucellosis can result in the following complications:

1. Arthritis – The bacteria can infect joints and result in pain and inflammation. Knees, ankles, hips, and spine are more commonly affected.
2. Endocarditis – Infection of the inner lining of the heart. It is a potentially fatal complication as the heart valves can get destroyed, resulting in death.
3. Epididymo-Orchitis – Inflammation of the testicles or testes. This can also result in infertility.
4. Hepatosplenomegaly – Inflammation and enlargement of the spleen and liver.
5. Meningitis and Encephalitis – Inflammation of the brain and the surrounding membranes, which can also be fatal.



The doctor will give various medicines depending on your symptoms and antibiotics for at least six weeks.


1. Do not consume raw or unpasteurized dairy products.
2. Make sure you cook your meat until the temperature reaches 145 to 165 ℉.
3. If you are a veterinarian, hunter, farmer, or work in a slaughterhouse, wear rubber gloves, goggles, and aprons, while handling animals or carcasses, or assisting animal births.
4. Never forget to vaccinate domestic animals.

Brucellosis is more common in developing and underdeveloped countries. Death due to this infection is rare. With proper treatment, almost all the potentially fatal complications can be prevented.

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