A classical zoonoses, Brucellosis is an important cause of fever in many parts of the world. The causative bacteria are called Brucellae, which are Gram-negative coccobacilli. There are three species responsible for most human infections:
- Brucella abortus – typically a disease of cattle. Prevalent in Africa, the Indian sub-continent and temparate zones.
- Brucella melitensis – particularly prevalent in Mediterranean countries, the Middle East and Central and South America.
- Brucella suis – a problem in the US. Pigs are the natural host.
Humans acquire infection from ingesting dairy products that have not been pasteurised. It is typically a problem for the rural poor in endemic settings. Occasionally, farmers and veterinarians will exhibit localised skin disease caused by direct contact with infected animal products.
Clinical features include recurring and prolonged bouts of fever. Without specific treatment (at least 2 antibiotics with variance over duration, but at least 6 weeks, depending on disease presentation), undulating patterns of fever may last for several weeks. It’s important to consider TB infection before treatment.
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