Brucellosis is caused by specific bacteria that infects domesticated animals. It can be spread to humans through:
Factors that increase your risk of getting brucellosis include:
Symptoms of brucellosis usually appear within 2 weeks of infection. Symptoms can appear from 5 days to several months after infection.
In the early stage, symptoms may include:
As it progresses, brucellosis causes a high fever (104° F to 105° F). This fever occurs in the evening along with severe sweating. It becomes normal or near normal in the morning, and usually begins again at night.
This on and off fever usually lasts 1 to 5 weeks. After 5 weeks, symptoms usually improve or disappear for 2 days to 2 weeks. Then, the fever returns. In some patients, this fever returns only once. In others, the disease becomes chronic, and the fever returns, lessens, and then returns again over months or years.
In later stages, brucellosis can cause:
Patients usually recover within 2 to 5 weeks. Rarely, complications can develop. These may include:
Brucellosis is also believed to cause a high rate of miscarriage during early pregnancy in infected women.
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Your body fluids may need to be tested. This can be done with:
Pictures may be needed of your body structures. This can be done with:
Many people recover from brucellosis on their own. However, early diagnosis and treatment can reduce the risk of complications and infection. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include:
Your doctor may prescribe one or more antibiotics to control and prevent brucellosis. Antibiotics are given for up to 6 weeks.
To help reduce your chances of getting brucellosis, take the following steps:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
United States Department of Agriculture
Public Health Agency of Canada
Brucellosis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/brucellosis. Updated November 12, 2012. Accessed June 9, 2015.
Brucellosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated March 14, 2015. Accessed June 9, 2015.
Patel PJ, Kolawole TM, et al. Sonographic findings in scrotal brucellosis. J Clin Ultrasound. 1988;16:483-486.
Last reviewed June 2015 by David L. Horn, MD, FACP
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.