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Brucellosis

Cause

Brucellosis is an infectious disease that occurs from contact with animals carrying Brucella bacteria. Brucella can infect cattle, goats, camels, dogs, and pigs. The bacteria can spread to humans if you come in contact with infected meat or the placenta of infected animals, or if you eat or drink unpasteurised milk or cheese.

Brucella is highly contagious, spreading very easily between cattle as the calf, the membranes and the uterine fluids all contain large quantities of bacteria.

Symptoms

  • Abortion;
  • Stillborn
  • Weak calf born
  • Retention of fetal membranes;
  • Signs of infection in the membranes;
  • Swollen testicles in bulls
Infection of the testicles is also seen in bulls.

Diagnosis can be done by laboratory testing of blood or milk samples or by laboratory culture of brucella abortus from the placenta, vaginal discharge or the milk of infected cows.

Treatment

No treatment is available, which makes detection and prevention essential.

Prevention

Brucellosis is a notifiable disease. Because of this most countries have strict regulations in place to control brucellosis, however it is still a threat. Testing herds regularly and culling has been an effective way of eradicating the disease in individual herds before.

Quarantines are placed on infected herds and good sanitation and biosecurity will protect uninfected herds.

In endemic areas vaccination is available. In some areas wild populations of buffalo, bison or cattle can carry the disease and infect domestic animals if they come into contact. Vaccination is not a guarantee but can increase resistance to infection.

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