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  • 23 Apr 2021
  • 3 min read

Why in News

Recently, Kerala launched preventive measures after a few cases of brucellosis, a zoonotic infection, have been detected in some dairy animals.

Zoonotic Diseases

  • It is a disease that passes into the human population from an animal source directly or through an intermediary species.
  • Zoonotic infections can be bacterial, viral, or parasitic in nature, with animals playing a vital role in maintaining such infections.
  • Examples of zoonoses include HIV-AIDS, Ebola, Malaria, and the current Covid-19 disease.

Key Points

  • About:
    • It is a bacterial disease caused by various Brucella species, which mainly infect cattle, swine, goats, sheep and dogs.
    • It is also known as Malta fever or Mediterranean fever.
    • Brucellosis is endemic in India causing huge economic losses to dairy industry due to:
      • Infertility
      • Abortion
      • Birth of weak off springs
      • Reduced productivity
  • Infection to Humans:
    • Infection:
      • Brucellosis has infected over 3000 people in China.
      • Humans generally acquire the disease through:
        • Direct contact with infected animals.
        • Eating, drinking contaminated animal products, unpasteurized milk.
        • Inhaling airborne agents.
      • The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that person-to-person transmission of brucellosis is “extremely rare” but some symptoms may reoccur or never go away.
    • Symptoms:
      • Fever, sweats, malaise, anorexia (psychological disorder in which one eats less due to fear of weight gain), headache and muscle pain.
    • Treatment and prevention:
      • It is usually treated with antibiotics, including rifampin and doxycycline.
      • Avoiding unpasteurised dairy products and taking safety precautions such as wearing rubber gloves, gowns or aprons, when handling animals or working in a laboratory can help prevent or reduce the risk of getting brucellosis.
      • Other preventive measures include cooking meat properly, vaccinating domestic animals, etc.


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