FAQ (brucellosis)

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If you want to find out more about brucellosis, you can send your questions via e-mail (dzeno.hadzovic@vet.gov.ba). Operative workgroup of the Veterinary Office of B&H in charge of Brucellosis will answer your questions.

 

  • Avoid unpasteurized dairy products. If you are not sure whether a product is pasteurized, do not take a risk.
  • Cook meat thoroughly. Meat should be cooked until its internal temperature is between 63 and 74 oC. If you eat out, you should order meat at least medium-well. When you travel abroad, you should avoid meat from street sellers and order meat well-done.

It is unlikely for a person to become infected again. However, if the disease is not treated appropriately, the disease can last for up to a year.

The major causes of infection are reproductive (mostly fetal and placental) secretion and mammal secretion (milk) of the infected animals. Brucellosis can be transmitted through consummation or contact with the aborted fetuses and infected calves.

Yes, but the treatment can be difficult. Doctors can subscribe effective antibiotics. Depending on the length of treatment and the difficulty of the disease, the recovery can last from a few weeks up to several months. Mortality is low (<2%), and usually related to endocarditis.

B. canis is a species of Brucella which can infect dogs. This kind can be transmitted to dogs, but most of the dog infections do not result in human illness. Althouth veterinarians exposed to the blood of the infected animals are at risk, the pet owners are not.

Brucellosis is diagnosed in a laboratory by finding Brucella organisms in samples of blood or bone marrow. Besides that, tests can be made to detect antibodies against the bacteria. If this method is used, two samples of blood should be taken in two weeks apart. 

Humans become infected in three ways: if they eat or drink something contaminated with Brucella, if they inhale the organism or if bacteria enters the body through the skin wounds. The most common way is eating or drinking the contaminated dairy products.

When a sheep, cow or goat is infected, their milk is also infected. If the milk is not pasteurized, these bacteria can be transmitted to persons drinking the milk or eating the cheese made of that kind of milk. Inhaling the Brucella organisms is not a very common way of infection, but it can represent a significant risk for persons in certain occupations, such as those working in laboratories where the organism is cultured.

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