What is Brucellosis? What causes the disease?

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Payal Khullar eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Brucellosis is a highly contagious and infectious disease caused by the bacteria Brucella. The bacteria Brucella can cause severe infection in cattle, goats, camels, dogs, pigs, etc.

  • The disease can also occur in humans if they come in direct contact with an animal infected with Brucellosis. The bacteria can enter the human body through open wounds and cuts.
  • The bacteria frequently pass out from an infected animal’s urine, milk, and other body fluids and, hence, the disease can also transmit if someone consumes an infected animal’s products. Hence, people who consume raw, unsterilised or unpasteurised animal products (like milk, meat, etc.) are at a greater risk of getting infected with this disease.
  • Humans could inhale the bacterium in laboratories and animal slaughter areas. Thus, Veterinarians and workers at meat factories are also at risk.
  • The bacterium resides in the reproductive organs and can transmit from one human to another via sexual contact.

Brucellosis is quite an old disease and also a common one, although humans are not the main hosts of Brucella bacteria. The common symptoms of this disease are fever, headache, excess sweating, weakness, pain in the abdomen, joints, muscles and back, and weight loss. The disease is commonly known as “Undulating fever” because the temperature of the infected person rises and falls irregularly like waves. 

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