Brucellosis, also called Cyprus fever, undulant fever, rock fever, malta fever, Gibraltar fever and Mediterranean, is a type of infectious disease. This disease comes from direct contact with animals that are carrying the Brucella bacteria. It is a rare disease that only occurs in about 100-200 people a year in the United States with certain risk factors and animals that are more likely to carry it. Symptoms are those similar to a fever and the following information will help you learn a little more about Brucellosis, how to recognize it and how to properly treat it.

Causes and Risk Factors

Brucellosis is a very rare condition that is received from animals including goats, dogs, pigs, camels and cattle that have Brucella. The bacteria spreads to people who come in contact with either the placenta of the animals, the infected meat or by drinking unpasteurized milk or eating unpasteurized cheese rom the infected animals. Those at a higher risk of developing Brucellosis are of course people who work around animals that might have Brucella such as farmers, veterinarians and slaughterhouse workers.

Symptoms of Brucellosis

There are a variety of signs and symptoms that might accompany Brucellosis, most of which are similar to the flu. They include fever and chills, sweating, abdominal pain, back pain, extreme fatigue, headaches, joint pain, loss of appetite, body and muscle weakness, and sudden weight loss. With Brucellosis, the fever usually spikes in the afternoon in what is called an undulant fever. Additional symptoms include swollen glands and muscle pain and the condition can become chronic, where the infected person has it for years without proper treatment.

Diagnosing Brucellosis

To effectively diagnose Brucellosis, the doctor will first perform a physical examination followed by a series of questions about the symptoms. Additional tests include a blood culture, bone marrow culture, clean-catch urine culture, CSF culture and possibly a serology for Brucellosis antigen. Other tests your doctor might perform are a quantitative immunoglobulin, febrile/cold agglutinins, and a serum immunoelectrophoresis.

Treating Brucellosis

The main course of treatment for Brucellosis consists of a round of antibiotics. This should get rid of the infection and hopefully prevent it from coming back. If you have complications, you might need other therapies or treatments. It is possible for someone to relapse and have flu-like symptoms of Brucellosis for several years in a chronic condition. Possible complications include joint and bone sores such as lesions, meningitis, encephalitis, and infective endocarditis.

Preventing Brucellosis

If you work in a farm or slaughterhouse, always wear proper protection when coming in contact with animals or meat products including gloves and masks. If you have breaks in your skin, you should cover your skin with clothing and other protective gear because that is where infection will enter your body and spread. Avoid drinking or eating unpasteurized milk or cheese. If you notice Brucella in your animals, get them properly vaccinated.

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