Brucellosis, what vets know that medics don’t. 

Brucellosis is a disease that presents with the same clinical signs as Malaria. These signs include

  • Flactuating fever
  • Back and joint aches.
  • Poor appetite and weight loss
  • Headaches
  • Night sweats
  • Weakness
  • Abdominal pain

I have been talking about zoonotic diseases such as Rabies and Ringworms in my previous blog posts and today I just want to talk abit about Brucellosis which is also a zoonotic disease.  It is very unfortunate that in our  hospitals zoonotic diseases are usually the last thing on our doctors minds as they ponder on a diagnosis. Many times questions like what do you do for a living are usually omitted which could be key to arriving at a coincise diagnosis. Like I said earlier, zoonotic diseases are most common in certain occupations as well as certain lifestyles. 

Brucellosis is an infectious zoonotic disease that is caused by a bacteria Brucella melitensis,  Brucella arbortus, Brucella suis or Brucella canis but in man it is most commonly caused by Brucella melitensis which affects goats.According to the World Health Organization more than half a million people in over a 100 countries are affected. Most of these are in Africa and Asia. 

Brucellosis is transmitted through ingestion of contaminated milk or meat. Especially unpasteurized milk. Other modes of transmission include contact with contaminated fluids or even inhalation. 

Brucellosis in animals has no cure. In humans however,  there are some treatment options. Treatment involves the use of antibiotics such as doxycycline over a long period of time. Relapse of upto 15% is quite common.

Since prevention is always better, milk should always be pasteurized and meat well cooked. People at high risk should also take precautions such as vets,farmers and slaughter house workers. 


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