Brucellosis

Brucellosis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria known as brucella in humans, cattle, sheep, goats and pigs. The disease is also referred to as contagious abortion (in animals), undulant fever, Malta fever or ugonjwa wa maziwa (in humans)

How do animals get infected?

  • Breeding naturally with infected animals
  • Ingesting feed or water contaminated with brucella

How would I know my livestock have the disease?

Infected animals may show the following signs

  • Late term abortion is the main sign
  • Stillbirths and retained afterbirth
  • Reduced milk production
  • Testes become swollen and may later shrink leading to infertility
  • Infertility in females

Laboratory test to confirm the disease is recommended

How serious is brucellosis?

  • Disease can spread rapidly within the herd
  • Brucellosis can be transmitted to humans
  • Disease affect productivity of livestock and humans

Is there cure?

There are no known effective cure and prevention is the better option.

What are the prevention measures?

  • Source animals from brucellosis free herds
  • Animals should be screened regularly for brucellosis
  • Breeding stock should be screened every six months
  • Animals proved positive should be slaughtered under the supervision of veterinary authority
  • Use artificial insemination (AI) services
  • Newly acquired animals should be quarantined for 30 days and rested before they join the herd

In humans, who is likely to get infected?

Animal health service providers:

  • AI service provision
  • during vaccinations
  • laboratory sample analysis
  • assisted delivery
  • meat inspection
  • slaughterhouse workers
  • animal transporters and others who directly work with animals
  • raw milk handlers

How do I get infected?

Humans to human transmission is rare; mostly the disease is derived from infected animals through:

  • Splashes or aerosols of infectious material into eyes, nose and mouth
  • Inhaling infectious materials
  • Consuming contaminated un-boiled or unpasteurized milk, raw blood and meat
  • Contact with contaminated material through open skin

How would I know I have brucellosis?

The following are the signs of brucellosis

  • Intermittent fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Joint and back pains
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Abdominal pain
  • Swollen and painful testes

What measures do I need to take to avoid getting infected?

  • Use protective clothing when handling aborted fetus or placenta
  • Avoid contact with infected animals
  • Drink boiled or pasteurized milk
  • Cook blood and meat before eating
  • Avoid eating, drinking or smoking while handling animals or raw animal products
  • Bury dead fetuses and carcasses at least 4 feet below the ground level
  • Disinfect or thoroughly wash hands with soap and water after handling infected animal or animal material

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