International travel and health

Brucellosis

Cause

Several species of Brucella bacteria.

Transmission

Brucellosis is primarily a disease of animals. Infection in people is acquired from cattle (Brucella abortus), dogs (B. canis), pigs (B. suis), or sheep and goats (B. melitensis), usually by direct contact with infected animals or by consumption of unpasteurized (raw) milk or cheese.

Nature of the disease

A generalized infection with insidious onset, causing continuous or intermittent fever and malaise, which may last for months if not treated adequately. Relapse is not uncommon after treatment.

Geographical distribution

Worldwide, in animals. It is most common in developing countries, South America, central Asia, the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

Risk for travellers

Low for most travellers. Those visiting rural and agricultural areas in countries or areas at risk may be at greater risk. There is also a risk in places where unpasteurized milk products are sold near tourist centres.

Prophylaxis

None.

Precautions

Avoid consumption of unpasteurized milk and milk products and direct contact with animals, particularly cattle, goats and sheep.

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