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The following text is from an archived Red Book® edition and may not reflect current recommendations or information. To view the current edition, click here.

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Section 3. Summaries of Infectious Diseases

Brucellosis

Clinical Manifestations
Etiology
Epidemiology
Diagnostic Tests
Treatment
Isolation of the Hospitalized Patient
Control Measures

CLINICAL MANIFESTATIONS: Brucellosis in children commonly is a mild self-limited disease compared with the more chronic disease in adults. However, in areas where Brucella melitensis is the endemic species, disease can be severe. Onset of illness can be acute or insidious. Manifestations are nonspecific and include fever, night sweats, weakness, malaise, anorexia, weight loss, arthralgia, myalgia, abdominal pain, and headache. Physical findings include lymphadenopathy, hepatosplenomegaly, and occasionally, arthritis. Serious complications include meningitis, endocarditis, and osteomyelitis.


ETIOLOGY: Brucella species are small, nonmotile, gram-negative coccobacilli. The species that infect humans are Brucella abortus, Brucella melitensis, Brucella suis, and rarely, Brucella canis.


EPIDEMIOLOGY: Brucellosis is a zoonotic disease of wild and domestic animals. Humans are accidental hosts, contracting the disease by direct contact with infected animals or their carcasses or secretions or by ingesting unpasteurized milk or milk products. People in occupations such as farming, ranching, and veterinary medicine as well as abattoir workers, meat inspectors, and laboratory personnel are at increased risk. Infection is transmitted by inoculation through cuts and abrasions in the skin, inhalation of contaminated aerosols, contact with the conjunctival mucosa, or oral ingestion. Approximately 100 to 200 cases of brucellosis occur annually in the United States, with . . . [Go to Full Text]


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