It is an infectious disease which is caused due to consumption of infected animal milk or meat. Brucella bacteria infects the domestic animals like goat, cow etc. Drinking unsterilized milk or eating undercooked meat results in transmission of infection. Person to person infection is rare but possible via sexual contact and through a pregnant mother to the foetus.
It starts with general flu like symptoms. Inconstant fever, that may rise and fall without any pattern, sweating, muscle and joint pain, weakness, and weight loss are some of the early symptoms. The condition may worsen in some cases and may lead to septicaemia in later stage.Prevention Of Brucellosis
* The disease mainly spreads through infected milk. Consuming pasteurised milk check the growth of bacteria and helps in its prevention. If that is not possible then properly boiled milk is also safe and free of bacteria.
* Meat should always be properly cooked.
* Workers that come in direct contact with animals should wear gloves so as to avoid any direct contact with animal secretions.
* Vaccination for animals is available but not for human beings.
Treatment of Brucellosis
The disease is well treated with antibiotics. There are several regimens of antibiotic combinations that are administered- Intramuscular injections of streptomycin for 14 days and Doxycycline (orally) for 45 days effectively treat the disease.
Doxycycline and rifampicin administered for 6 weeks are equally effective.
It is to be kept in mind that the disease has a higher rate of recurrence. So, an intense and prolonged antibiotic regimen is necessary to be followed.
Several strict measures are taken by the public authorities to check the spread of disease, viz. screening and vaccinating cattle every year. Cattle found infected with the bacteria is killed in many countries. Brucella bacterium was the first developed biological weapon in the history of mankind. Consuming boiled milk and properly cooked food effectively checks the spread of disease.Navtej Kohli MD