Brucellosis is a bacterial disease of domestic and wild animals that may be transmitted to humans.

Disease Fact Sheet

Disease Facts

Everyone is susceptible and may get the disease if exposed. It is more likely to be found in people associated with cattle, pigs, sheep and goats, or people who drink raw milk or unpasteurized dairy products.

The bacteria causing the disease may be found in unpasteurized milk from diseased livestock and also in their blood, urine, tissues, vaginal discharges, placentas and aborted fetuses. It is unlikely that this disease would be spread from person to person.

Human symptoms of brucellosis include irregular fever, headache, weakness, sweating, chills, weight loss, generalized aching and other nonspecific flu-like symptoms.

The time period is highly variable, but symptoms usually appear within 5 days to 5 months, commonly 1 to 2 months.

Long-term immunity is uncertain.

Brucellosis is treated with antibiotics. Early diagnosis leading to prompt antibiotic treatment is essential to prevent chronic infection.

Pasteurizing milk and limiting contact with infected cattle, sheep or goats will reduce the risk of infection. 

Yes. Brucella is considered a Category B bioterrorism agent.


This material is provided by the South Dakota Department of Health for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical care. We are not able to answer personal medical questions. Please see your health care provider concerning appropriate care, treatment, or other medical advice.

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