Brucellosis is an infectious disease caused by a type of bacteria called Brucella. The bacteria spread from animals to humans.

There are several different strains of Brucella bacteria. Some types are seen in cows. Others occur in dogs, pigs, sheep, goats, and camels. Recently, scientists have seen new strains in the red fox and certain marine animals, including seals.

To determine the presence of streptococcus bacteria, your doctor will do a throat culture. This uncomfortable but risk-free procedure involves swabbing a sample of throat mucus for lab analysis. It usually takes 24 hours to grow and analyze the culture. Some doctors also use a rapid strep test that can give results in about five minutes, but it isn't as accurate as the culture. Your doctor will also give you a complete exam, listening to your heart for evidence of heart valve malfunction -- which will...

Brucellosis is rare in the U.S. because of effective animal disease control programs. Fewer than 200 people get sick with the disease each year in the U.S. It is most often seen in the spring and summer months in:

  • Texas
  • California
  • Virginia
  • Florida

Brucellosis is considered a significant health threat in other parts of the world. The disease has been reported in more than a half-million people each year in 100 countries, according to the World Health Organization. What Causes Brucellosis

Brucellosis in humans occurs when a person comes into contact with an animal or animal product infected with the Brucella bacteria.

Rarely, the bacteria may spread from person to person. Breastfeeding moms with brucellosis may pass the bacteria to their baby. Brucella may also be spread through sexual contact.

The bacteria can enter your body:

  • Through a cut or scratch in the skin
  • When you breathe in contaminated air (rare).