Brucellosis (Maltese fever) is a zoonotic infectious disease caused by various types of brucella.
The disease is prone to chronic course and is characterized by a nonspecific clinical picture with multiple lesions of various organs and systems of the human body. It is very important to detect the symptoms of brucellosis in a timely manner, an experienced doctor can easily recognize them at the first examination.
The causative agent of brucellosis is nothing more than small microorganisms that are well adapted to any environmental conditions, called brucella. They do not die at low temperatures; they can be found in the soil, on pet hair, in cow’s milk, as well as in water and frozen meat. And at the same time, the preservation of brucella ranges from 1.5 to 5 months. When the temperature rises to 100 ° C, brucella die.
The synonyms of the disease are Maltese hyperthermia, Cyprus hyperthermia, Gibraltar hyperthermia, undulating hyperthermia, Bruce septicemia, Bang pathology.
What is brucellosis?
How can I get brucellosis, and what is it? Brucellosis is a zoonotic infection characterized by multiorgan pathologies and a tendency to chronicity. A significant pathogenetic component of brucellosis is allergic reactivity. The causative agents of brucellosis are bacteria of the genus Brucella, among which are recognized the existence of eight distinct species, six of which are capable of causing disease in humans:
Of the most common types of brucella
Transmission of infection is carried out mainly by the fecal-oral mechanism, most often through the food and water, in some cases it is possible to implement a contact-household (when the pathogen is introduced through the microtrauma of the skin and mucous membranes) and air-borne (by inhalation of infected dust).
Milk obtained from sick animals and dairy products (cheese, koumiss, cheese), meat, products from animal raw materials (wool, leather) represent a significant epidemiological hazard. Animals contaminate the soil, water, food with feces, which can also contribute to human infection by non-food means. Contact-household and air-dust paths are implemented in the care of animals and the processing of animal raw materials.
Symptoms of brucellosis in humans
The incubation period for brucellosis is 7 days – 8 weeks, usually 2 weeks. Symptoms of brucellosis in humans develop, usually, gradually and have no special characteristics.
However, patients, as a rule, present 4 main complaints:
- Intermittent soreness in the joints, mostly in the lower limbs, from time to time very painful and strong.
- Increase in body temperature in the form of a long subfebrile condition (up to 38 ° C) or a wave-like type with sharp rises and falls.
- Increased sweating, perspiration, sometimes night sweats.
- Sharp asthenia and fatigue.
In some patients, a long subfebrile condition is noted. Fever can last for months, it is typical that even at high temperatures, patients remain conscious, the spleen and liver are enlarged. Brucellosis often affects the nervous, reproductive system and the musculoskeletal system.
There are also arthritis (hip, sacroiliac, and other large joints), periarteritis, bursitis, tendo-vaginths, spondylitis, neuralgia, neuritis (sciatic), less often meningitis, encephalitis, etc. in women, dysmenorrhea, oophoritis, salpingitis, and even abortion.
There comes a chronic form in the case of adaptation of the organism to the pathogen, while in a person the signs of the disease periodically worsen and subside. Symptoms in the form of mild intoxication and the absence of an increase in body temperature (sometimes up to 37.5) are characteristic of this form. If the disease turns into a remission form of exacerbation, then the person has symptoms similar to a sharp appearance. A very common symptom is an enlargement of the lymph nodes, liver and spleen.
At this stage, many internal organs may already be affected, and the musculoskeletal system, and especially the joints and large muscles, is most often hit. Joint pain and swelling caused by uncontrolled growth of bone tissue.
The result of the transition to chronic brucellosis can be neuritis, radiculitis, meningitis, encephalitis, metritis and other diseases, while pregnant women with a high percentage of the probability of losing a fetus. In men, pathogens in the chronic form of indisposition cause disruptions of hormones, the occurrence of impotence and in some situations of infertility, which is caused by a negative effect on the testicles.
The chronic form of the disease can last for 2–3 years, but if re-infection occurs, the period becomes much longer.
Diagnosis of brucellosis
When detecting signs of disease for diagnosis, in addition to history, it is necessary to conduct some laboratory tests.
To do this, a person needs to be tested for brucellosis, including 2 types of research:
- Serological diagnosis is the most common method of diagnosis, in which using a variety of techniques (agglutination reaction, enzyme immunoassay), an increase in antibody titer to certain types of brucella is detected.
- Bacteriological examination with isolation of bacterial culture of the pathogen and their identification.
For additional diagnostics, in order to determine the severity and localization of structural changes in organs, a clinical analysis of blood and urine, X-ray and ultrasound methods of instrumental examination are used.
Treatment of brucellosis in humans
When the symptoms of brucellosis occur, the treatment is to destroy the pathogen that has penetrated the human body. Usually, doctors prescribe streptomycin, chloramphenicol, and other antibiotics of the tetracycline group that successfully cure brucellosis as an antibacterial therapy: treatment lasts three to four weeks and is accompanied by additional supportive therapy.
With early detection and timely treatment of the disease can be successfully cured. Severe brucellosis can lead to infection of the central nervous system, endocarditis (inflammation of the inner lining of the heart or heart valves), and abscess of the liver. In addition, brucellosis can cause prolonged symptoms similar to the symptoms of chronic fatigue: recurrent fever, weakness, fatigue, pain in the joints.
With improper or inadequate treatment, as well as with therapy that was started late, the disease becomes chronic in 80% of cases. Brucellosis in a person whose symptoms are so varied, and treatment is quite long, is rarely the cause of death.
However, we must remember that this disease often leads to disability. And the severity of residual effects after the illness depends on the type of brucella infection occurred. The worst complication is spinal cord injury and paralysis. For this reason, much attention should be paid to the prevention of the disease.
In the case of brucellosis prophylaxis, this is the elimination of brucellosis foci among animals and the prevention of food infections, conducting specific vaccination of persons from 7 years of age with negative serological and allergic reactions to brucellosis when indicated. For the purpose of prophylaxis, persons vaccinated with live anti-bronchial vaccine are allowed to work no earlier than three weeks after vaccination.