Brucellosis is an infectious bacteria that can affect cattle, goats, sheep, pigs (including feral swine), and dogs. It is communicable to humans through direct contact with animals and animal products infected with the bacteria. The most common way to be infected is by eating or drinking unpasteurized/raw dairy products. When sheep, goats, cows, or camels are infected, their milk becomes contaminated with the bacteria. Health effects through inhalation could be infulenza-like sickness, and eating contaminated products can produce abdominal pain, chills, back pain, headache, weakness, loss of appetite and weight loss. A fluctuating fever that spikes in the afternoon can be a sign of the disease. The disease can result in chronic relapses affecting the heart valves, bones, joints, spleen and liver. The common treatment is antibiotic.

If the milk from infected animals is not pasteurized, the infection will be transmitted to people who consume the milk and/or cheese products.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends wearing PPE when handling animals and their products and to avoid the consumption of raw milk and unpasteurized products. Read more at eXtension:


Antibiotics for treating human brucellosis. (2012). U.S. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from

Brucellosis. (2007) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from


Glen Blahey, Canadian Agricultural Safety Association –
Lynn Z. Blevins, University of Vermont –
Dennis J. Murphy, Pennsylvania State University –
Aaron M. Yoder, University of Nebraska Medical Center -

Publication #: 68323 eXtension, Feb 2016

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