HEALTH TODAY- Oh my Gosh, what is Brucellosis?

Oh my gosh…..                                                      what-is-brucelosisi-copy.jpg

By Abhay  Buranade

Domesticated animals are perilous in the form of Brucellosis. The prevention is exacting and treatment is cumbersome.

Brucellosis is an infectious disease that originates in animals and further attacks human beings. It is so named because the causative agent is a bacteria of the kind Brucella. It is usually seen to affect domestic animals like dogs, goats, cattle and pigs. The disease is omnipresent and generally widespread in developing nations. In the 19th century, it was called as Malta fever or Mediterranean fever. From the 20th century, it was referred to as undulant fever. The reason was that the fever falls and rises over some weeks in untreated patients.

>The following topics are discussed:
Brucellosis in cattle
Brucellosis in dogs
Spread of the disease

Brucellosis in cattle
Cattle fall prey to this disease due to the bacteria Brucella abortus. Presence of these bacteria can lead to abortions, arthritis of joints or weak progeny. Abortions occur due to two reasons – infections in the placenta and fetus or absence of anti-Brucella activity in the amniotic fluid. In males, this bacteria is found in the reproductive system. The Brucella milk ring test is carried out to separate the infected animals. Those which are infected are usually killed. Veterinary doctors should vaccinate the young cattle to bring the situation under control.

Brucellosis in dogs
Brucella canis is the bacteria that is found in dogs. It propagates due to breeding and contact with aborted fetuses. Generally, the genitals and lymphatic system is affected. However, the kidney, eye and intervertebral disc may also suffer. In females, abortion takes place. In males, the testicles and scrotum are inflamed. Both contract fever. Blood testing before the breeding season begins is done to minimize spread of this disease.

Spread of the disease

Consumption of untreated or contaminated milk and its derived products
direct contact with infected goats, sheep, bison, cattle, camels, pigs and dogs.

The bacteria can penetrate through normal human skin
direct contact with carcasses of above animals
childbirth rests

Similar to other feverish diseases, the symptoms are:
fluctuating fever
sweating with an odor similar to wet hay
muscular and body pain
headache and anorexia
weakness and depression
These may last for some weeks or years. In the first stage, septicaemia, migratory arthralgia and myalgia occur. Blood tests reveal anemia, leukopenia and raise of AST and ALT. In the absence of treatment, brucellosis becomes chronic or causes focalizations in joints and/or bones or spondylodisciitis of lumbar spine.

Detection of this disease depends on various factors like
Blood culture in tryptose broth and bone marrow cultures – the brucellae are highly infective and the laboratory personnel must be on the alert
Classic Huddleson, Bengal Rose and/or Wright reactions – ELISA or 2-mercaptoethanol assay is used for IgM antibodies
Osteophytosis or degradation of antero-superior corner of lumbar vertebrae
Granulomatous hepatitis

Following antibiotics have been proved to be effective
These should be prescribed for many weeks due to the incubation of bacteria in the cells. For adults, the gold standard treatment is prescribed. It includes
intramuscular injections of streptomycin – daily 1 gram for 14 days
oral dose of doxycycline – daily 100 mg twice for 45 days
if streptomycin is unavailable, then intramuscular injection of gentamicin 5 mg/kg – daily once for 7 days
alternatively, oral dose of doxycycline and rifampin – daily twice for minimum 6 weeks

There are a couple of ways to prevent Brucellosis.
pasteurizing all the milk (pure form or derived form like cheese) that is consumed by human beings
cent percent cleanliness in production of raw milk products

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