Author: Dr Marie Hartley, Staff Writer, 2010. Reviewed and updated by Dr Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand; Vanessa Ngan, Staff Writer, June 2014.
Brucellosis is an infection caused by bacteria of the genus Brucella. These bacteria primarily cause disease among animals, such as sheep, pigs, cattle, goats, and dogs. Humans can become infected by:
Person-to-person spread is extremely rare.
Brucellosis is now rare in developed countries due to pasteurisation of milk and milk products, and disease control amongst animals. Around 100–200 cases occur per year in the United States. Worldwide areas listed as high risk are the Mediterranean Basin, South and Central America, Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and the Middle East.
The incubation period of brucellosis is generally 1–8 weeks. Symptoms are variable and non-specific.
Skin complications generally affect less than 5% of patients with systemic brucellosis. A variety of skin lesions have been documented. These include:
Contact with animals with brucellosis may also result in:
Brucellosis can be diagnosed by detecting Brucella organisms in samples of blood or bone marrow. Blood tests can also reveal antibodies against the bacteria.
Brucellosis is treated with antibiotics. The WHO guidelines recommend the following regimens:
Relapse of infection occurs in up to 10% of patients, even with appropriate treatment.
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