Diseases : Brucellosis

Brucellosis, or Undulant Fever, is a rare infectious disease caused by Brucella bacteria. These bacteria are passed, and cause disease, primarily among animals. Various Brucella bacteria affect sheep, goats, cattle, deer, elk, pigs, dogs, and several other animals.

Humans become infected by coming into contact with infected animals or consuming contaminated or unpasteurized milk and dairy products. Those at greatest risk for the disease include abattoir workers, meat inspectors, animal handlers, veterinarians, and laboratory workers.


The symptoms of this disease can vary.

In humans, non-specific and flu-like symptoms usually appear within eight weeks of contracting the illness. Symptoms can include fever, sweats, anorexia, headache, muscle pain, back pain, and physical weakness.

Severe infections of the brain or lining of the heart may occur. Brucellosis can also cause long-lasting or chronic symptoms that include recurrent fevers, joint pain, pain in the testicles, fatigue, and depression.


A person diagnosed with this disease would receive antibiotic treatment for at least six weeks. Treatment can be difficult. Depending on the timing of treatment and severity of the illness, recovery may take a few weeks to months.

Further Information

Anyone with concerns or questions about brucellosis : please contact your physician or the staff of your local public health unit.


The information provided is subject to change. The information was collated from the following three sources :

1. Chin, J. "Control of Communicable Diseases Manual". 17th Edition. 2000. American Public Health Association: Washington D.C.
2. Health Canada website
3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website

*Advice on the most up-to-date treatment should be sought from a clinical expert.

January 2003

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