Brucellosis

Brucellosis Summary
Brucellosis is an infectious disease caused by the Brucella bacteria. Symptoms and signs include sweating, fever, fatigue, dizziness, headache, cough, chest, joint, and abdominal pain, and enlarged liver and/or spleen. Brucellosis is treated with antibiotics.
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What is brucellosis?

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Brucellosis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria from the genus Brucella. It is an infection that affects mainly animals, including goats, sheep, camels, pigs, elk, deer, cattle, and dogs. Humans develop brucellosis when they come in contact with contaminated animals or animal products. The symptoms of brucellosis often resemble a flu-like illness.

Human brucellosis is a disease that is found worldwide, and it has an annual occurrence rate of more than 500,000 cases. Brucellosis tends to occur more commonly in regions with less established animal-disease-control programs and in areas where public-health initiatives may be less effective. High-risk areas include the Mediterranean Basin (Portugal, Spain, Southern France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, and North Africa), South and Central America, Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and the Middle East. In the United States, brucellosis is much less common, with only 100-200 human cases reported each year. This decrease in cases in the United States is felt to be due to effective animal vaccination programs and milk pasteurization.

What is the history of brucellosis?

Brucellosis is a disease that is thought to have existed since ancient times, as it was first described more than 2,000 years ago by the Romans and Hippocrates. It was not until 1887 that a British physician, Dr .David Bruce, isolated the organism that causes brucellosis from several deceased patients from the island of Malta. This disease has had several names throughout its history, including Mediterranean fever, Malta fever, Crimean fever, Bang's disease, and undulant fever (because of the relapsing nature of the fever associated with the disease).

In the mid-20th century, the Brucella bacteria was also developed for use as a biological weapon by the United States. The use of brucellosis for biological warfare purposes was later banned in 1969 by President Nixon.


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