Abortus fever

Abortus fever: Description, Causes, and Risk Factors:

Abortus feverAn infectious disease caused by the bacterium Brucella, characterized by fever, sweating, weakness, aches, and pains, and transmitted to humans by direct contact with diseased animals or through ingestion of infected milk, meat, or cheese, and particularly hazardous to veterinarians, farmers, and slaughterhouse workers; although some crossing over by species may occur, Brucella melitensis, B. abortus, B. canis, and B. suis characteristically affect goats, cattle, dogs, and swine, respectively.

The incubation period is about three weeks.

Abortus fever is not very common in the United States, where 100 to 200 cases occur each year. Many of these cases are associated with foreign residence or travel. Abortus fever continues to be common in countries where animal disease control programs have not reduced the amount of disease among animals.

Humans are generally infected in one of three ways: consuming food or beverages that contain Brucella bacteria, breathing in the organism, or having the bacteria enter the body through breaks in the skin. The most common way to be infected is by eating or drinking milk products from infected animals. When female sheep, goats, cows, or camels are infected, their milk becomes contaminated with the bacteria. If the milk is not pasteurized, these bacteria can be transmitted to persons who drink the milk or consume dairy products made from the milk. Inhalation of Brucella organisms is not a common route of infection, but it can be a significant hazard for people in certain occupations, such as those working in laboratories. Infection through breaks in the skin may occur in a slaughterhouse or packing plant workers, those assisting an animal birth, or veterinarians handling infected animals and carcasses. Hunters may be infected through skin wounds or by accidentally ingesting the bacteria after, elk, butchering deer, wild pigs, moose.

Direct person-to-person spread of abortus fever is extremely rare. Mothers who are breastfeeding may transmit the infection to their infants. Sexual transmission has also been reported. Breastfeeding infants of infected mothers or sexual partners of infected cases can take antibiotics to reduce their risk of becoming infected.


Typical Symptoms include:

  • · Fever.
  • · Sweat.
  • · Headache.
  • · Back pain.
  • · Physical weakness.
  • · Loss of appetite.
  • · Abdominal pain.
  • · Weight loss.


Doctors usually confirm a diagnosis of Abortus fever by testing a sample of blood or bone marrow for the Brucella bacteria or by testing blood for antibodies to the bacteria. Several different tests can be used. All have drawbacks, such as a lengthy wait for results or the chance of a false result. A test called polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which looks for the genetic material of the Brucella bacteria, is quick and can be performed on any type of tissue. But PCR is not yet widely used for Abortus fever.

Demonstration of antibodies against the agent either with the classic Huddleson, Wright and/or Bengal Rose reactions, either with ELISA or the 2-mercaptoethanol assay for IgM antibodies associated with chronic disease.


Treatment for Abortus fever aims to relieve symptoms, prevent a relapse of the disease and avoid complications. You'll need to take medications for at least six weeks, and your symptoms may not go away completely for several months. The disease can also return and may become chronic.

The standard treatment for Abortus fever is a combination of two or three antibiotic medications, usually doxycycline in combination with streptomycin, rifampin or gentamicin. You'll take these drugs for six weeks or longer. If Abortus fever has affected your central nervous system, you may need to take three antibiotics for as long as three months. Children and pregnant women can't take certain antibiotics, so their treatment may involve just one antibiotic or a different combination of drugs.

Provide supportive care for any specific symptoms and obtain appropriate tests targeted to affected organ systems as determined by history and physical.

NOTE: The above information is for processing purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


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