This bug is creeping around your property. He may be friend or foe.
Name: Brucella spp.
Alias: Brucellosis, contagious abortion, Bangs disease, undulant fever. This disease is a perennial part of the news in our area. Bison from Yellowstone National Park are carriers and when they migrate out of the park they put domestic livestock herds in danger. Brucellosis is a costly disease to the cattle industry, but the disease can also affect many other species such as dogs, swine, chimpanzees, reindeer and even man. The bacteria live inside an infected animal and are transmitted through direct contact or contact with contaminated discharges from infected animals. The disease may also spread when wild animals that carry the disease mingle with brucellosis-free herds. It is difficult to detect an infected animal by its appearance. The disease usually manifests itself through causing abortions or weak calves, a reduction in milk productivity, an apparent lowering of fertility with poor conception rates, retained afterbirths with resulting uterine infections and occasionally enlarged, arthritic joints. The incubation period can vary from 30 days to over a year. There is a vaccine for brucellosis, but it is not completely effective.
Crimes: It causes weight loss, decreased milk production, abortions, infertility and lameness. It can also be naturally transmitted to man (zoonotic). Human infection may resemble severe influenza that can persist for several weeks or months and may progressively get worse. Initial symptoms include fatigue and headaches, followed by high fever, chills, drench sweats, joint pains, backache and loss of weight and appetite. It can be food borne in unpasteurized milk or cheese products.
Redeeming Qualities: None known.
Sentence: Since the disease is commonly transmitted by direct contact, it is important to reduce the possibility of contact with an infected animal. Aborted fetuses, placental membranes or fluids, or other discharges are especially dangerous as they are highly contaminated with the bacteria.