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Brucellosis

Brucellosis is a zoonotic and tick-borne disease caused by the bacteria Brucella melitensis, and is an ancient disease, dating back to the 5th plague of Egypt around 1600 BC.  Archeological excavation of Egyptian human bones dating around 750 BC demonstrated evidence of osteoarticular abnormalities that are often symptom complications from a Brucellosis infection.  Brucella is found all over the world, especially in countries that rely heavily on agriculture, livestock, and dairy products such as Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the Middle East, and central Asia.

David Bruce was the first scientist to identify the bacteria Brucella melitensis in British soldiers stationed on Malta (an island in Italy) who developed severe fever leading to the name “Malta Fever” for this disease complex.  In 1897, a Danish veterinarian, L.F. Bernhard Bang, discovered a bacillus bacteria in cattle and termed it “Bang’s Disease.”  However, an American scientist, Alice Evans, famous for her work on pathogenic bacteria in dairy products, confirmed that Malta Fever and Bang’s Disease were caused by the same bacteria now known as Brucella melitensis.  Alice Evans was largely responsible for instituting the pasteurization process of dairy products to prevent human disease in the United States.

To date, there are 9 species of Brucella, (5 are pathogenic to humans), and in 1990 it was discovered that Brucella was also found in marine mammals.  Brucella species are facultative, intracellular, Gram-negative, coccobacilli, and nonmotile due to the lack of flagella.  Sheep or goat's milk consumption is a significant source of Brucellosis infection, so minimizing the natural animal reservoirs for this disease is important for curbing disease outbreaks.

Symptoms of Brucellosis include fever, night sweats with a strange odor, chills, weakness, malaise, insomnia, anorexia, headache, joint pain, constipation, nervousness, depression, and impotence.  Many organ systems can be affected by Brucella infection including the: brain (encephalitis), heart (endocarditis), joints (arthritis), testes (orchitis), and prostate gland (prostatitis).

Mothers who are breastfeeding may transmit the infection to their infants and sexual transmission has also been reported in the scientific literature.

Diagnosis of Brucellosis is confirmed using antibody titer tests, IgM, and IgG which demonstrates exposure to the Brucella bacteria.

Integrated medicine treatment for Brucellosis including herbal and nutrient immune support coupled with antimicrobial herbs and antibiotics generally yields very positive outcomes. However, Brucella can have varied effects on individuals so the length of treatment time is variable.

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