Brucellosis is an infection caused by bacteria. It can be passed from animals to people. It sometimes causes long-term illness.
Early in an infection, brucellosis can seem like the flu, with fever, weakness, and body aches. Brucellosis can get worse, especially if left untreated. The bacteria can attack many parts of the body, including the heart, liver, brain, and genitals.
Herd animals are most likely to have brucellosis infection. The bacteria can be shed by livestock, such as sheep, cows, goats, and pigs, and wild animals such as elk, bison, moose, wild boar, and caribou. Even pet dogs can spread the infection during breeding time. Sometimes miscarriage is an animal's only sign of infection.
Brucellosis is contagious.
The infection can usually be cured if it's treated early with antibiotics. But some people go on to have long-term illness after treatment.
Last Revised: May 8, 2013
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Leslie Tengelsen, DVM, PhD
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