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Brucellosis is a bacterial infection that spreads from animals to people via unpasteurized dairy products or by exposure to contaminated animal products or infected animals. Animals that are most commonly infected include sheep, cattle, goats, pigs, and dogs. Brucellosis can cause of range of signs and symptoms, some of which may persist or recur. Initial symptoms may include fever, sweats, malaise, anorexia, headache, fatigue, and/or pain in the muscles, joints, and/or back. Symptoms that may persist or recur include fevers, arthritis, swelling of the testicle and scrotum, swelling of the heart (endocarditis), neurologic symptoms (in up to 5% of cases), chronic fatigue, depression, and/or swelling of the liver or spleen. People who are in jobs or settings that increase exposure to the bacteria are at increased risk for infection. Antibiotics are used to treat brucellosis. Recovery may take a few weeks to several months, and relapses are common. Death from brucellosis is rare, occurring in no more than 2% of cases.
Source: GARD Last updated on 05-01-20
The long-term outlook (prognosis) for most people with brucellosis is generally very good. With early treatment (within the first few months of onset), it is very curable with a low risk of relapse or chronic disease.
It is not uncommon for a person to have recurrence of symptoms, and sometimes this evolves into chronic brucellosis, which may be progressive if untreated. Chronic brucellosis may continue to trouble an affected person for as long as 25 years, but this is reportedly quite rare. The likelihood of recurrence is higher in people who are not treated, or who are not treated adequately. However, recurrence is possible even in properly treated people.
The overall mortality rate in both acute and chronic cases is very low - probably less than 2%. When death occurs, it is usually due to either the rare instance of associated endocarditis, or severe neurological involvement (often as a complication of endocarditis). The prognosis is known to be poor for people with brucellosis who present with congestive heart failure due to endocarditis. In these cases, the mortality rate is close to 85%.
Last updated on 05-01-20
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a fact sheet about Brucellosis provided by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Click on the link to view this fact sheet.
Last updated on 04-27-20
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