Brucellosis is a disease caused by bacteria,
primarily passed among animals such as cattle, sheep,
goats, and deer. Other types of animals can also be
infected. People become infected by coming in contact
with animals or animal products that are contaminated
with these bacteria.
People are normally infected in one of three ways:
eating or drinking something that is contaminated with
the bacteria, breathing in the organism, or having the
bacteria enter the body through skin wounds. The most
common way to be infected is through unpasteurized milk
and dairy products from diseased cows, sheep, and goats.
It can also be transmitted to people from animals
through infected tissue and animal waste products.
Person-to-person infection is rare, though it can be
transmitted from mothers breast-feeding their babies or
How common is
Brucellosis is rare in people in the United States.
There are usually between 100 and 200 cases each year in
the United States. Most cases are among recent
immigrants, people who have ingested food products
imported from abroad, or in people who have traveled to
countries where brucellosis is common. Occasionally
there are cases reported in veterinarians, butchers,
meat inspectors, and farmers.
What are the
symptoms of brucellosis?
In humans, symptoms of brucellosis include irregular
fever, headache, weakness, sweating, chills, weight
loss, physical weakness, and general aching. Infection
of organs including the liver, the central nervous
system, the lining of the heart, and the spleen may also
occur. The disease in humans remains for several weeks
or months and may get progressively worse. Brucellosis
can also cause long-lasting or chronic symptoms that
include recurrent fevers, joint pain, and fatigue.
What is the
treatment for brucellosis?
Brucellosis infection is treated with a combination
of antibiotics that lasts for six weeks to prevent
reoccurring infection. Depending on the severity of
illness, recovery may take a few weeks to several
complications from brucellosis?
The risk of death from brucellosis is low, less than
2%, and is usually associated
with infection of the heart valves and parts of the
inside lining of the heart muscle.
brucellosis be prevented?
Brucellosis can be prevented by not consuming
unpasteurized milk, cheese, or ice cream while
There is no human vaccine available.
How do I get more
information on brucellosis?
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Phone: (888) 246-2675