Brucellosis is a disease that spreads to people from farm animals, such as horses, sheep, goats, pigs, cattle and dogs. In people, the disease can cause flu-like symptoms.
Human infection rarely occurs. Those at greatest risk include veterinarians and farmers. People can become infected through direct contact with tissues, blood, urine and birth fluids from infected animals. It is generally not passed from person to person.
You can lower your risk of infection by not eating unpasteurized dairy products, especially in countries where brucellosis is more common.
You should also avoid contact with pregnant animals when they are giving birth. Be sure to use proper hygiene following any contact with animals.
The time period varies, but symptoms usually appear within five to 30 days. Symptoms include:
Brucellosis may lead to infections in the liver, spleen, bones or joints. If left untreated, chronic illness can occur for weeks or months.
Treatment for brucellosis includes antibiotics and can be a difficult process. It requires close oversight by a health care provider. If you think you are at risk for brucellosis, talk to your provider.