Brucellosis "is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria. People can get the disease when they are in contact with infected animals or animal products contaminated with the bacteria. Animals that are most commonly infected include sheep, cattle, goats, pigs, and dogs, among others."
- Unpasteurized/raw dairy products from infected sheep, goats, cows or camels. Pasteurization will kill the bacteria in the milk.
- Inhalation of the bacteria which can happen in some work places. Laboratories where people are working with the bacteria and employees working in slaughterhouses and meat-packing plants can become exposed to the bacteria and ultimately become infected.
- Entering through skin wounds or mucous membranes from contact with infected animals. Someone who works with animals can come in contact with an infected animal or animal excretions (newborns animals, fetuses, and excretions that may result from birth). Slaughterhous workers, meat-packing plant employees and Veterinarians could be at risk.
- People who hunt could also be at risk. When they are in contact with infected animals, exposure to the bacteria may occur through:
- skin wounds
- accidentally ingesting undercooked meat
- inhaling the bacteria while dressing their game. Commonly infected animals include: bison, elk, caribou, moose and wild hogs (feral swine).
Person-to-person spread of brucellosis is extremely rare. Infected mothers who are breast-feeding may transmit the infection to their infants. Sexual transmission has been rarely reported. While uncommon, transmission may also occur via tissue transplantation or blood transfusions.
Signs and Symptoms
It is the signs and symptoms that may lead to an incorrect diagnosis of myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) and vice versa. Brucellosis can cause a range of signs and symptoms, some of which may present for prolonged periods of time.
Risk factors are: where one lives, occupation (working with animals), unpasteurized dairy, infected mother spreading to baby through breastfeeding, hunters.
"Depending on the timing of treatment and severity of illness, recovery may take a few weeks to several months. Death from brucellosis is rare, occurring in no more than 2% of all cases."
Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) - A disease often marked by neurological symptoms, but fatigue is sometimes a symptom as well. Some diagnostic criteria distinguish it from chronic fatigue syndrome, while other diagnostic criteria consider it to be a synonym for chronic fatigue syndrome. A defining characteristic of ME is post-exertional malaise (PEM), or post-exertional neuroimmune exhaustion (PENE), which is a notable exacerbation of symptoms brought on by small exertions. PEM can last for days or weeks. Symptoms can include cognitive impairments, muscle pain (myalgia), trouble remaining upright (orthostatic intolerance), sleep abnormalities, and gastro-intestinal impairments, among others. An estimated 25% of those suffering from ME are housebound or bedbound. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies ME as a neurological disease.