The brucellosis , also known as Maltese disease or Bang ‘s disease is a disease caused by bacteria of the genus Brucella and transmitted by animals (pigs, cattle, goats, dogs, pigs, etc.) to human, which generates a picture infectious disease that can be serious if not treated properly.

Diseases that are transmitted by animals are known as zoonoses. Currently, Bang’s disease constitutes a public health problem worldwide, since there are many animals that are reservoirs of the bacteria, including wild animals and farm animals.

Since brucellosis affects both humans and animals, this disease has become one of the most common zoonoses worldwide and, therefore, a topic of universal interest, increasingly studied by doctors and veterinarians. It is estimated that more than 2 billion people are at risk for it (Jennings 2007).

How do you get Maltese disease?

The Brucellosis can be transmitted by any of the animal fluid contact humans. Humans can be infected by consuming any product derived from animals that have not been properly pasteurized, processed or sufficiently cooked.

Likewise, the patient can acquire the disease by contact with the skin or mucous membranes (if there is a wound). Another form of infection is through the respiratory system, since contagion is possible through inhalation of contaminated particles, this occurs in laboratory personnel who handle contaminated samples or in farmers who handle soil contaminated with the bacteria.

It is characteristic of Bang’s disease , to produce an increase in the abortion rate in farm animals. It is common that, during the care of the animal, its caregiver can become infected by being in contact with the animal’s fluids.

Likewise, if the animal’s fluids remain in the soil of the farm, the bacteria can reproduce for months in those places, which can lead to contamination and infection of other animals or humans.

It is important to mention that transmission in humans is very rare, although cases have been reported by transmission through blood donation , intimate relationships and breastfeeding.

Symptoms of brucellosis

The Brucellosis is a disease that has various manifestations, some people may be completely asymptomatic and others may have severe infections even cause death. The infection is usually more severe in adults than in children, especially in pregnant women where they cause abortions and premature births. Among the symptoms of Maltese disease are:

  • Fever .
  • Muscle aches, especially in the lumbar region.
  • Diaphoresis (night sweats), which is sometimes characterized by having a characteristic musty or moldy smell.
  • Joint pain; especially in the hip and lower limbs.
  • Weightloss.
  • General weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache.
  • Dizziness
  • Gastrointestinal (such as abdominal pain, cholecystitis, pancreatitis), cardiac (pericarditis, endocarditis) and dermatological manifestations (ulcers, erythema, papules, etc.) are rare.
  • In some cases, after months of an acute Brucellosis picture with all these symptoms, there may be a chronic brucellosis picture, characterized by being located in a specific site such as the eye (uveitis), bones (osteomyelitis), etc.
  • In other cases, the infection behaves like sepsis associated with systemic inflammatory inflammation and leads to death.

Is it possible to prevent brucellosis?

Currently, there are several Bang disease prevention campaigns worldwide. Although there are no vaccines for humans, in the case of farms it is recommended to vaccinate livestock, the use of appropriate clothing for the handling of animals that have been selected for domestic consumption and the quarantine of herds when there are cases purchased within farms.

Likewise, it is advisable to properly handle food, properly cook meat and consume properly pasteurized milk.

Treatment of brucellosis

The treatment of brucellosis in humans is focused on controlling infection and prevent complications ; Antibiotics that act against Brucella strains are used for this , these are doxycycline and rifampicin, which are indicated for at least 6 weeks (Yousefi-Nooraie, 2012).

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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