"It is a disease that is typical of animals, but can be transmitted to man through the digestive tract. It is treated with antibiotics and the risk of mortality is low".


What is brucellosis?

Brucellosis is the name given to the infectious disease produced by bacteria of the genus brucella.

Brucellosis is a zoonosis, that is, the reservoir of this bacterium is the animals and mainly, but not only, domestic animals such as cows, sheep, goats and pigs. The infection among them is very contagious, mainly through the ingestion of tissues or milk or through venereal transmission.

Person-to-person infection is rare. Although it can affect anyone at any age, it is most common in males between the fourth and fifth decade of life.

Its distribution is worldwide, although with different incidence, according to geographical areas. In this regard, and despite having significantly decreased its frequency, Spain continues to occupy a prominent place among European countries and the species B. mellitensis is responsible for virtually all cases recorded in our country.

What are the symptoms of brucellosis?

The most frequent is the appearance of general symptoms, among which fever predominates.

About 30% of patients have respiratory symptoms dominated by cough and up to 20% have digestive symptoms.

On physical examination, more than half of the patients present an increase in the size of the liver (hepatomegaly), often accompanied by an increase in the spleen (splenomegaly), and up to a quarter of the patients present palpable adenopathies. Skin lesions are rare.

Localized manifestations appear due to specific affectation of a certain organ or tissue. The osteoarticular location is the most frequent. It appears in about a third of patients and is manifested mainly with sacroiletis and / or spondylitis of predominantly lumbar.

The neurological location (mainly meningitis with a greater or lesser degree of encephalitis), cardiovascular (endocarditis and pericarditis) represent the most serious forms of the disease.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Constipation.
  • Hepatomegaly.
  • Splenomegaly.

Do you have any of these symptoms?

You may have brucellosis

How is brucellosis spread?

The disease is acquired mainly through the digestive system, especially through the ingestion of milk or dairy products that have not passed the relevant health controls and, therefore, do not require direct contact with the infectious source.

Other infection routes are respiratory by inhalation, cutaneous or conjunctival by inoculation, which necessarily implies direct contact with the infected animals.

What is the prognosis?

When the treatment has been correct, the prognosis is good, with a mortality rate of less than 1%, especially related to the presence of endocarditis and with the possibility of sequelae in cases of localized forms such as neurobrucellosis, spondylitis and endocarditis.

How is brucellosis diagnosed?

<p>Imagen laboratorio de microbiolog&iacute;a&nbsp;</p>

The diagnosis of brucellosis is carried out through techniques of isolation of the microorganism or by indirect methods of immunological character.

The isolation of brucella, mainly in blood, establishes the definitive diagnosis. Growth is slow and, although it can be detected between the second and third weeks, incubation should be maintained for up to 45 days.

The serological studies, among which the Rose Bengal and Coombs' test stand out, have great specificity to demonstrate that contact with the microorganism has existed (presence of antibodies) but not to determine when the same one has been produced (if it is current or not).

However, the negativity of both tests allows practically ruling out the disease.

How is brucellosis treated?

The treatment is antibiotics.

The treatment should be combined, since no antibiotic by itself achieves bacterial eradication, and should also be prolonged in time to reduce the risk of chronicity and relapses, which is maximum in B. Mellitensis (the most frequent in our environment).

Tetracyclines (mainly doxycycline) are the antimicrobial basis for any combination with rifampicin or streptomycin.

Where do we treat it?


The Infectious Diseases Service
of the Clínica Universidad de Navarra

This area works on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases produced by an infectious agent, which can be bacteria, virus, fungus and protozoa. Infections affect people by causing very different processes that can be located in any tissue of the human body, so it requires a specific approach.

This area carries out its activity on three fronts: care work, focused on the diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases; teaching, with training of medical students, resident doctors and nurses; and research vocation, through the development of clinical and laboratory studies.

Organized in care units

  • Infections associated with biomaterials.
  • Nosocomial infections (multi-resistance).
  • Infections in immunosuppressed patients.
  • Community infection.
  • Traveler's medicine.
  • Prudent use and optimization program of anti-infective therapy.
  • Control of infection by multi-resistant microorganisms.
Imagen de la fachada de consultas de la sede en Pamplona de la Clínica Universidad de Navarra

Why at the Clinica?

  • We perform the traveler's assessment and analytical tests in less than 24 hours.
  • Second opinion consultation when the infection has not yet been resolved.
  • We ensure the prudent use of antibiotics.

Our team of professionals

Infectious disease specialists with expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of brucellosis