Brucellosis In Humans

Brucellosis- Symptoms, Causes, And Management

Brucellosis is a bacterial infection. Patients with brucellosis are presented with fever, headache, joint pain, and loss of appetite. It is caused by eating undercooked meat of infected animals, inhaling contaminated air, and coming in contact with infectious fluid while having open wounds. Antibiotics are the primary treatment of brucellosis. There are various ways to prevent brucellosis in humans.

What Is Brucellosis?

Brucellosis is a disease caused due to bacterial infection. Various Brucella species cause this disease. This disease is present in many countries all over the world. These bacteria mainly infect animals such as swine, cattle, goats, or sheep. The pathogen resides in the reproductive organs of the animals. It may cause sterility and abortions in such animals. A large number of pathogens are present in the placental fluid, urine, and milk of the infected animal. People get infected through these animals. People working in a specific occupation such as in slaughter-houses, meat packaging, and veterinary clinics are at increased risk of this disease.

What Are The Symptoms Of Brucellosis?

The following are some of the initial symptoms of brucellosis;

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Anorexia
  • Malaise
  • Chills
  • Back pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Joint pain
  • Pain in the abdomen

Some of the symptoms are presented for a longer period, or they may recur;

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Depression
  • Swelling of the heart
  • Liver and spleen swelling
  • Testicle swelling and swelling in the scrotum area
  • Fever come and go
    • What Are The Causes Of Brucellosis?

      There are rare incidences of human to human transmission of this bacteria. Animals found to have the potential to infect humans are dogs, moose, camels, goats, cattle, sheep, and pigs. The following are the causes of brucellosis in human;

      1. Eating Raw Or Unpasteurized Dairy Products

      As the pathogen is found in the milk of infected animals, eating raw or unpasteurized dairy products may result in infection.

      2. Eating Undercooked Meat

      Transmission of bacteria from the animal to humans may also take place in case the person eats the raw or undercooked meat of an infected animal.

      3. Inhalation Of Bacteria Causing Brucellosis

      The pathogen causing the brucellosis may enter into the person through the contaminated air. This is the reason why some people are at increased occupational risk.

      4. A Person Infected From The Bacteria Due To Skin Wounds

      Brucellosis causing pathogen is present in the various fluids of the infected animal. When such fluids encounter the open wounds of the person, the pathogen may enter and cause brucellosis.

      5. Infection Through Lactation

      There are reports of passing the pathogen from the mother to the infant through breast milk, although the incidences are quite rare.

      What Are The Treatment Options For Brucellosis?

      Antibiotics are prescribed for the treatment of brucellosis. The treatment aims to provide relief from the symptoms and to avoid any complications. The therapy should be continued for at least 6 weeks. The medications generally prescribed include doxycycline and rifampin.

      What Are The Complications Of Brucellosis?

      Some of the complications of brucellosis are as under;

      1. Arthritis

      Brucellosis may cause severe pain and inflammation in the joints. The patient may also have rheumatoid arthritis. Pain and swelling are presented in ankles, hips, wrist, and spine.

      2. Inflammation And Swelling Of Testicles

      Brucellosis may affect the epididymis, that connects testicles to vas deferens. The infection may also progress to the testicles, causing pain and inflammation.

      3. Endocarditis

      Brucellosis may also affect the heart and may cause inflammation in the heart lining. If not diagnosed early with the right doctor, it may damage heart valves.

      4. Spleen And Liver Inflammation

      Brucellosis may cause swelling to the liver and spleen.

      5. Infection Of The Central Nervous System

      Brucellosis may cause inflammation in the brain (encephalitis) and its linings (meningitis).

      Tips For Prevention Of Brucellosis

      The following are the various measures to be adopted to prevent brucellosis;

      • Precautionary measures such as gloves, goggles, gowns or aprons, and face masks should be used by the person working in slaughterhouses or by the farmers, veterinarians, or hunters.
      • Do not eat unpasteurized or raw dairy products, as this may lead to the transmission of the pathogen.
      • While ordering the meat, ask for perfectly cooked meat. Avoid any undercooked meat. While traveling to high-risk countries, strictly avoid taking meat from the street vendors.
      • Brucellosis vaccination should be done in domestic animals to avoid infection by Brucellosis bacteria and preventing brucellosis in humans.

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