Brucellosis - Fact Sheet
What is brucellosis?
Brucellosis is a disease caused by a bacterium called Brucella.
Where are the bacteria found?
The bacteria can be found in animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, coyote, and dogs.
How are the bacteria spread?
The bacteria is primarily spread to people by direct contact with tissues, blood, urine, aborted fetuses, and placentas from infected animals. People can also become infected by eating contaminated food, especially unpasteurized milk and soft cheeses. Person-to-person transmission does not occur.
Who gets brucellosis?
Brucellosis is primarily an occupational disease of individuals working with infected animals or their tissues (i.e., veterinarians, farmers, or those working in slaughter houses); however, anyone can become infected.
What are the symptoms of brucellosis?
Symptoms of brucellosis include intermittent or irregular fever of variable duration, headache, weakness, profuse sweating, chills, weight loss, and generalized aching. Illness may last from several weeks to several months.
How soon do symptoms appear?
The time period is highly variable, but symptoms usually appear within 5 to 60 days, occasionally longer.
Does past infection with brucellosis make a person immune?
It is unlikely that an individual will be reinfected.
What is the treatment for brucellosis?
Infection is treated with antibiotics such as rifampin, streptomycin and tetracycline. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment is essential to prevent chronic infection.
What can be done to prevent the spread of brucellosis?
Brucellosis can be prevented by avoiding unpasteurized dairy products and contact with infected animals.
This fact sheet is for informational purposes only. It should not be used for self-diagnosis or as a substitute for consultation with a health care provider. If you think that you may have this infection, or have questions about the disease described above, you should consult your health care provider.
For additional information on this disease, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
To contact the Epidemiology and Emerging Infections Program, please call 860-509-7994.