Brucellosis In Humans

What Is Brucellosis In Humans?

Brucellosis is the name given to a bacterial infection which basically is contracted from animals usually due to consumption of unpasteurized dairy products. In extremely rare cases, the bacteria can become airborne or spread through direct contact with infected animals. The symptoms observed in an individual with Brucellosis are fever, lethargy, and severe joint pains. This disease is successfully treated by using appropriate antibiotics. The treatment process lasts for months, although this disease may relapse. Brucellosis is pretty rare in the United States although it is present in significant numbers elsewhere across the globe. Avoiding unpasteurized dairy products and wearing protective clothing while near animals can prevent an individual from contracting Brucellosis.

What Are The Causes Of Brucellosis In Humans?

Some Of The Causes Of Brucellosis Are:

Raw Dairy Products: The bacterium which causes Brucellosis is called as Brucella and it can spread to humans through unpasteurized milk, ice cream, cheese, or other dairy products. It can also spread from undercooked meat of an infected animal.

Inhalation: Brucella becomes airborne easily and people who are involved with animals gets this disease easily like farmers, laboratory technicians etc.

Direct Contact: This bacterium can also infect the humans through direct contact with an infected animal through cuts and bruises. Normal touching or playing with the animal does not cause this disease; hence, Brucellosis is rarely caused from pets, although individuals with a compromised immune system should stay away from animals who may be carriers of this bacterium even if they are pets.

Brucellosis In Humans

Brucellosis does not spread from person to person, although researchers have found in some instances that this disease has been passed from a woman to the child at the time of birth or during breast feeding.

What Are The Symptoms Of Brucellosis In Humans?

Some Of The Symptoms Of Brucellosis Are:

  • Fevers
  • Chills
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle and joint aches and pains
  • Headaches.

These symptoms caused by Brucellosis may go after some weeks only to return back. In some people, symptoms may persist for years unending even after they have sought treatment. Some of the more complicated symptoms are development of arthritis or spondylitis.

How Is Brucellosis In Humans Diagnosed?

To confirm a diagnosis of Brucellosis, the treating physician will collect blood or bone marrow sample to analyze to look at the antibodies for Brucella which if present will confirm the diagnosis of Brucellosis. Additionally, the following tests may also be performed for confirmation:

X-rays: This will reveal changes in bones or joints.

CT scan/MRI: This will determine the presence of formation of any abscess in the brain due to Brucellosis.

Cerebrospinal Fluid Analysis: This will check for presence of any infection in the brain or the spinal cord like encephalitis etc. due to Brucellosis.

What Are Treatments For Brucellosis In Humans?

The treatments for Brucellosis are aimed at controlling the symptoms and prevent complications and slow down the rate of relapses of the disease. Antibiotics may be prescribed for at least four to six weeks for relief of symptoms but the symptoms may come back again.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: March 29, 2016

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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