(Undulant Fever; Bang’s Disease; Malta Fever)
- Drinking unpasteurized milk from infected cows, sheep, or goats
- Eating dairy foods from infected cows, sheep, or goats
- Inhaling the bacteria
- Breastfeeding—passed from an infected mother to an infant
- Sexual transmission
- Tissue transplantation
- Working with domesticated animals and livestock, especially sheep, goats, cattle, deer, elk, and pigs, or their waste products, bodily fluids, or carcasses
- Eating undercooked meat products
- Living in or travel to high-risk areas
- Sex: male, possibly due to occupational exposure among farmers, ranchers, veterinarians, people working in tanneries, and slaughterhouse workers
- Muscle pain
- Severe headache and backache
- Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Abdominal fullness or discomfort
- Joint pain
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- Joint pain
- Abscesses within the liver or spleen
- Enlargement of the liver, spleen, or lymph nodes
- Inflammation and infection of organs in the body, such as:
- Scrotal swelling
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- Blood tests
- Urine tests
- Bone marrow tests
- Spinal fluid tests
- Tissue tests
- Avoid eating or drinking unpasteurized milk and dairy foods. If you are unsure if a dairy product is pasteurized, don’t eat it.
- Wear rubber gloves and goggles, and securely cover open wounds when handling domesticated animals including their fluids, waste products, or carcasses.
- Wear a protective mask when dealing with brucellosis cultures in a laboratory.
- Have cattle and bison that live in areas heavily infected with brucellosis vaccinated by an accredited veterinarian or government health official. The vaccine contains a live virus and is dangerous to humans. For best results, calves should be vaccinated when they are 4-6 months old. There is no brucellosis vaccine for humans as of yet.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov
United States Department of Agriculture http://www.usda.gov
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Public Health Agency of Canada http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca
Brucellosis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/brucellosis. Updated November 12, 2012. Accessed August 6, 2013.
Brucellosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated January 30, 2013. Accessed August 6, 2013.
Patel PJ, Kolawole TM, et al. Sonographic findings in scrotal brucellosis. J Clin Ultrasound. 1988;16:483-486.
- Reviewer: David L. Horn, MD, FACP
- Review Date: 05/2014 -
- Update Date: 06/20/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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