IAMAT |International Association of Medical Assistance to Travellers| IAMAT |International Association of Medical Assistance to Travellers|


Photo By: Kerry Luker

Brucellosis is a zoonosis – an animal infection that can spread to humans – caused by the Brucella bacteria which are transmitted to humans by infected animals such as cows, sheep, goats, pigs, camels, bison, or dogs.


Brucella bacteria are found worldwide. Travellers are at risk when coming into contact with infected animals or contaminated dairy and meat products through:

  1. Ingestion by eating or drinking contaminated milk products.
  2. Skin lesions where the bacteria invade the blood stream; usually affects meat packers, abattoir workers, veterinarians, and hunters.
  3. Inhalation, although not common, mostly affects abattoir employees and lab workers doing research on the bacteria.

Usually symptoms appear between 5 to 60 days, sometimes longer, and include fever, headaches, sweats, back pain and general weakness. In more severe cases, the bacteria attack the central nervous system and the heart, and patients suffer from chronic joint pain, fatigue and recurring fevers. Treatment includes antibiotics.


There is no preventive medication or vaccination available against Brucellosis for humans.

Information last updated: September 17, 2020

Travel Health Journal