Brucellosis is an infectious disease caused by a bacteria named Brucellawhich spreads from animals to humans ( zoonotic). Different strains of this bacteria are found in cows, dogs, sheep, camels, pigs, goats and marine animals like seal. Some of these strains include, B. melitensis, B. suis, B. canis and B. abortus. It has become a quite serious problem in certain parts of the world, affecting more than half a million of people in about100 countries in an year. A person can get infected by the disease during contact with an infected animal or animal product. Bacteria can enter the body through skin bruises, inhalation of contaminated air and by consuming undercooked meat or unpasteurized milk contaminated with Brucella bacteria. B. canis which is the strain found in dogs can easily infect pet owners incase of contamination with blood or other animal fluids. Veterinarians, butchers, animal farmers and hunters also have an increased risk of getting affected by the disease. Symptoms of brucellosis mainly are bit similar to that of flu and include, fever with high spikes towards the afternoon, body and back aches, headache, weakness, night sweat, loss of appetite, loss of weight, cough and abdominal pain. These symptoms may appear within 5- 30 days after a contact with an infected animal. However, the symptoms will depend on the strain of bacteria the patient has been affected by. B. abortus will mainly cause mild-moderate symptoms although it can lead a chronic infection. B.suis may cause abcesses in various organs in the body while B. melitensis will cause sudden, severe symptoms which can even lead to disability.
HOW IS BRUCELLOSIS DIAGNOSED?
A general physician may test for brucellosis if there is unexplained flu like symptoms. Testing may include:
1. blood culture
2. urine culture
3. bone marrow culture
4. cerebrospinal fluid testing
5. testing for antibodies to brucellosis
HOW IS BRUCELLOSIS TREATED?
It is usually treated with antibiotics. Medications of ayurveda and homeopathy can also be used. At least six weeks of medications is required.
DID YOU KNOW?
Severe brucellosis can give rise to complications like, infections in the central nervous system, endocarditis and liver abcess. It can also cause chronic symptoms similar to that of systemic exertion tolerance disease such as on and off fever, fatiguability and joint pains. Brucellosis during pregnancy can lead to abortions and birth defects. Although the incidence of death due to brucellosis is rare, patients may die due to endocarditis.