About the disease
Brucellosis is an infection caused by bacteria known as Brucella. Brucellosis mostly develops through the contact of humans with animals. Such animals as cows, sheep, pigs and dogs are the most frequent carriers of bacteria responsible for development of brucellosis. In rare cases marine animals can contain the bacteria as well. According to WebMD, this infection had become very rare lately due to effective programs for controlling it. Overall, there are approximately 200 people in the US diagnosed with brucellosis annually. This bacteria is more active in the warmer seasons. States with the most warm climate such as Texas and California, are the ones where the bacteria is most likely to thrive. In other countries, this infection is more widespread. According to World Health Organisation, there are more than 500, 000 cases of brucellosis reported annually worldwide.
While in other similar infections a person may get infected only when eating contaminated food or water, in case of brucellosis a person may contract the bacteria if he/she has cut or scratch and if a person went into contact with the infected animals. Rarely, a breastfeeding mom can pass brucellosis to her newborn through the milk. In rare cases, a person may contract brucellosis through the sexual contact as well. Brucellosis is more common in people who work with animals on a regular basis, such as vets or farmers. The first manifestations of brucellosis usually start 5 days after the bacteria entered the body. In some cases symptoms may start up to 30 days after the contact with the infected animal. Overall, symptoms of brucellosis are similar to both food poisoning and flu.
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- In some cases cough
- During a general examination, the doctor will palpate the stomach, spleen and liver of a person to determine if there are any swollen area. A doctor may check if there are swollen lymph nodes as well. A doctor will ask if a person had fever or any flu-like symptoms which could be explained.
- A blood test is used to determine the type of infection a person is having and also determine its severity.
- A stool sample test can be used as well to determine if a person has parasites.
- Conservative treatment mostly uses antibiotics which need to be taken for 6-8 weeks to eliminate all the bacteria which a person contracted. During this time a person needs to follow special diet and drink plenty of water to speed up recovery and ensure its complete success. In case of brucellosis there is always a risk of relapse that`s why a person needs to be cautious in future when being in contact with animals that can be infectious.