Bang’s Disease, Malta Fever, Contagious Abortion
- Although there are other species of Brucella, Brucella melitensis is normally the only one that affects goats. The disease spreads when goats eat contaminated feed or lick infected material from the reproductive tract, newborn kids, or around the external reproductive organs of the infected doe.
Goats show only vague symptoms including
- Occasional mastitis
- Llameness of feet
- Slightly loose stool.
- Does may abort in the final 4 to 6 weeks of pregnancy.
- The male may show swollen joints and swollen testicles.
A blood test is the best method of diagnosing brucellosis in goats, usually done by a veterinarian or in a diagnostic laboratory. Brucellosis is often traced to goats when found in humans.
- This organism is transmitted to humans who handle these infected materials, drink infected raw milk, eat infected uncooked milk products, or assist with the birth process of infected does.
- No treatments are effective. Usual recommendations are that infected does and their kids be slaughtered for meat.
- The best prevention is buying uninfected animals. In some countries where infection is common, a vaccine is used to control spread of the diseases.
Human Health Concerns:
Brucellosis is a high risk disease. You should not drink uncooked or unprocessed milk or milk products. See the section on Mastitis for milk processing procedures. Do not handle or assist in the birth process of infected animals without protecting your hands and arms with rubber or plastic gloves. Wash with soap and water after assisting. Slaughtering or eating meat from infected animals is not dangerous if minimum sanitary measures are followed and the meat is cooked.
Brucellosis in humans should be suspected when a recurrent flu-like syndrome is observed, along with high fevers and sweats that recur on a daily basis, especially if the person has been drinking milk that has not be boiled or pasteurized. These symptoms are accompanied by weakness and vague body aches and pains. Improvement is noticed in about 2 weeks, with symptoms recurring a few days 2 weeks later for extended periods of time.
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