What Is Brucellosis?
Brucellosis is an infectious disease caused by a type of bacteria called Brucella. The bacteria can spread from animals to humans.
There are several different strains of Brucella bacteria. Some types are seen in cows. Others occur in dogs, pigs, sheep, goats, and camels. Recently, scientists have seen new strains in the red fox and certain marine animals, including seals. Brucellain animals cannot be cured.
What Causes Brucellosis?
Brucellosis in humans occurs when a person comes into contact with an animal or animal product infected with the Brucella bacteria.
Very rarely, the bacteria may spread from person to person. Breastfeeding moms with brucellosis may pass the bacteria to their baby. Brucella may also be spread through sexual contact.
The bacteria can enter your body:
- Through a cut or scratch in the skin
- When you breathe in contaminated air (rare)
- When you eat or drink something contaminated with the bacteria, such as unpasteurized milk or undercooked meat
Symptoms of Brucellosis
- continuous or intermittent fever.
- profuse sweats.
- joint pains.
- weight loss.
Brucellosis is preventable. To lower your chances of getting it, you are encouraged to:
- Avoid consuming raw meat or unpasteurized milk, cheese, and ice cream.
- Wear gloves and protective glasses when handling animals or animal tissues.
- Cover any open wounds on your skin when coming in contact with animal blood.
- Wear protective clothing and gloves when helping animals give birth.
There is a brucellosis vaccine for animals. If you work with domestic animals, you should consider vaccinating them for brucellosis. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for brucellosis in humans. That’s why it’s important to take other steps to protect yourself from the bacteria.
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