Symptoms and Signs of Brucellosis

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 8/12/2021

Doctor's Notes on Brucellosis

Brucellosis is an infectious disease that affects mainly animals, including goats, sheep, camels, pigs, elk, deer, cattle, and dogs and is caused by bacteria from the genus Brucella. Humans develop brucellosis when they come in contact with contaminated animals or animal products, most commonly from the ingestion of raw milk or cheese. Brucellosis is diagnosed by blood tests and by isolating the organism from blood and other body tissues. 

Symptoms of brucellosis may develop from days to months after initial exposure and often resemble a flu-like illness and may include:

What Is the Treatment for Brucellosis?

A combination of two antibiotics, doxycycline and rifampin, is the recommended treatment for brucellosis. In some cases, other antibiotics may be used. 

The antibiotics are to be taken in combination for a minimum of 6-8 weeks. Such a long treatment course is necessary because of the organism's ability to survive inside human cells. Even with antibiotic treatment, about 5% to 15% of people will have a relapsing infection, which usually occurs within the first 6 months after treatment.

Other treatments can be used to help relieve symptoms, such as medications to control pain and fever.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.