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Brucellosis: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment And Transmission

Last Updated: Nov 09, 2020

What is Brucellosis?

Brucellosis is a disease which is caused due to a group of bacteria. These bacteria usually infect both animals and human. It can be spread if people consume contaminated food such as unpasteurized milk and raw meat. This bacteria can be spread through an open wound or air.

To prevent the risk, you should avoid consuming unpasteurized dairy products and raw meat. Wearing protective clothing while working with animal tissue or animals can also be a helpful method to prevent it.

What are the symptoms of brucellosis?

  • Back pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Chills
  • Lethargy
  • Headaches
  • Pain in and around the abdomen
  • Severe pain in the joints
  • Fever which comes and disappears
  • Sudden weight loss

How is brucellosis transmitted to humans?

Brucellosis is a disease which is transmitted from animals to humans in a number of ways. The most common way in which this disease is transmitted is when someone drinks raw milk or eats cheese of infected sheep or goat. A person can also be infected if he/she inhales infected organism or if there is direct contact with infected animal secretion.

What is the incubation period for brucellosis?

Brucellosis has a very variable period of incubation. It commonly only takes 1-2 months but ranges from 5 days to 60 days.


How is brucellosis diagnosed?

Brucellosis generally has flu-like symptoms which are unexplained. Tests to diagnose include blood culture, urine culture, bone marrow culture, cerebrospinal fluid testing and testing for antibodies. It can take anywhere from one week to two months for the signs of brucellosis to appear.

How Is brucellosis treated?

It is difficult to treat Brucellosis. Here are some Antibiotics which are prescribed by the doctor: doxycycline (Acticlate, Monodox, Vibra-Tabs, Vibramycin), streptomycin, ciprofloxacin (Cipro) or ofloxacin (Floxin), rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane), sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim (Bactrim), tetracycline (Sumycin).

Antibiotic must be taken so that the disease cannot return. Recovering from brucellosis can take up to weeks or even months and patients who start taking the medication within the month of starting of disease then he/she can be cured easily.

What are the complications for brucellosis?

Brucellosis can have a lot of complications such as:

  • Inflammation in and around the brain (encephalitis)
  • Lesions on the joints and bones
  • Infection on the inner lining of the heart (endocarditis)
  • Inflammation of the membranes surrounding our brain (meningitis)

What are the risk factors for brucellosis?

People who travel or who are in the direct contact of animals are at a high risk of catching brucellosis which is caused by the virus named brucella, as the main cause of the disease is drinking unpasteurized milk or cheese.

If someone comes in direct contact of infected blood then he/she can get affected with the disease. For example, veterinarians, dairy farmers, ranchers, slaughterhouse workers, hunters, microbiologists are at a higher risk. Any part of the body can be affected through this disease including the nervous system, reproductive system, heart, and heart.

Is brucellosis contagious?

Brucellosis is weakly contagious as it is not transmitted from one person to another. This disease is contagious from an animal as long as the bacteria are present in domestic or wild animals and are transmitted at the time of secretion of milk.

Can you die from brucellosis?

People do not die of brucellosis but it can happen in the case if the disease is not fully cured or treated the disease can come back and can cause serious problems in the heart, joints or bones. Death from brucellosis is extremely rare but possible. People with brucellosis are only expected to survive if the diseases don’t have any complications.

What is the best medicine for brucellosis?

The best medicines for brucellosis are Doxycycline, Gentamicin, Streptomycin, Rifampin, Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMZ)

What are the home remedies for brucellosis?

These are the medicinal plants which can be used for the treatment of brucellosis are Teucrium polium, barberry, garlic, Scrophularia deserti, Alhagi and Eucalyptus.

How can you prevent brucellosis?

There is still no vaccine available to prevent this disease but to reduce the risk these are the steps which can be taken:

  • Avoid unpasteurized dairy products: Raw dairy products like unpasteurized milk, cheese, should be avoided as they contain bacteria which can cause brucellosis.
  • Cook meat thoroughly: Meat should be cooked thoroughly until it does not reach the internal or room temperature and when travelling out one should avoid eating meat at the street vendors.
  • Wear gloves: Rubber gloves must be worn if you are a veterinarian, hunter, or work in a slaughterhouse.
  • Seal wounds: Try to cover or seal any open wounds while coming in direct contact with animal blood.


Popular Questions & Answers

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Dr. Prakhar Singh

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Lethality of brucella is because of its complications which can be prevented by strict adherence ...

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Dear user, you have nothing to panic. Lymphadenopathy is usually a result of an infection and cou...

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You have taken medication more than you needed. If you have fever go for blood culture and sensit...

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Dr. Sadhana Banzal


If culture for brucellosis positive then only brucellosis. Otherwise may look for other diagnosis...

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Written ByDr. Pankaj Verma ACLS,POST GRADUATE COURSE IN RHEUMATOLOGY,Fellowship in Diabetes,MBBS,Post Graduate Course In Rheumatology,MD - Medicine,Masters in Psychotherapy and CounsellingInternal Medicine
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