Bovine brucellosis outbreak in Algeria

An outbreak of 15 cases of bovine brucellosis was recorded in Algeria in the city of Sedrata, Souq Ahras province in the north-east of the country, according to a press release from the state veterinary service dated April 12, 2022. inspection. . Blood samples were taken from 62 dairy cows from the same farm in the municipality of Sedrat, the results of the analysis revealed 15 positive cases out of 62 cows. An order was issued for the mandatory slaughter of 15 cows infected with brucellosis.

Brucellosis is endemic and enzootic in Algeria. Human cases are often indicative of the insidious course of infection in animals. The results of a study published in 2021 showed that brucella abortus biovar 3 is the dominant cattle species in Algeria.

Brucellosis Reminders:

Brucellosis (sometimes also called Maltese fever) is an animal disease that can be transmitted to humans (zoonosis). Caused by bacteria of the genus brucella. Three types predominate: Brucella melitensisthe most pathogenic, invasive and widespread species in the world, B. abortusand B. am. There are other less common species with different pathogenicity for humans (B. canis, B. ovis, B. marimum, B. inopinata, etc.).


brucella found in most mammalian species, including ruminants, domestic and wild, as well as in pigs (pigs and boars) and lagomorphs (hares). Those that infect humans come mainly from domestic cattle, sheep, goats and pigs. The fact that wild animals serve as a reservoir of infection complicates eradication efforts.
This bacterial zoonosis is widespread throughout the world. The annual incidence is 500,000 registered cases.

A person can become infected in several ways:

  • by direct contact (penetration of the pathogen through the skin or mucous membrane, favoring wounds or abrasions) with infected animals, animal carcasses, abortion products, placentas, animal vaginal secretions, manure or by accidental contact with biological products in laboratories; this mode of infection affects people who are in direct contact with infected animals (breeders, veterinarians, inseminators, slaughterhouse or processor personnel) and much less often laboratory workers during veterinary or medical tests;
  • when eating contaminated food (unpasteurized milk and dairy products from infected animals, less often raw vegetables contaminated with manure or, in exceptional cases, undercooked meat and offal); this is the main mode of infection among travelers who share the lifestyle of the local population, especially in terms of nutrition;
  • when inhaled (litter dust, contaminated aerosol in laboratories or slaughterhouses), the bacteria are able to survive for several months outside the body of the animal, in the external environment, in particular in cold and humid conditions.

Brucellosis is one of the most serious diseases of farm animals, considering the damage caused by the infection to animals. Reduced milk production, weight loss, loss of young, infertility and lameness are some of the effects on animals.

Clinical aspects of brucellosis in humans:

The incubation period for brucellosis varies from one week to several months. The primary infection may be asymptomatic, and the disease may not become apparent until months or years later. In symptomatic forms, clinical signs are highly variable, but usually develop in three phases:

  • Phase of acute primary invasion: fever on the background of myalgia, feeling unwell;
  • The secondary phase, in which isolated or multiple infectious foci are formed: osteoarticular (spondylodiscitis, arthritis of the knee joint, etc.), genitourinary (orchitis, epididymitis), hepatic (liver abscess), neurological (meningitis, meningoencephalitis, brain abscess …) , heart (endocarditis…)
  • Perhaps, in particular with insufficient or poorly carried out treatment, a chronic phase, the severity of which is twofold:

Or general symptoms (asthenia, pain, fatigue),
Or more focal symptoms (chronic development of infectious foci).

Once the diagnosis is confirmed, treatment of human brucellosis is based on the administration of specific antibiotics for several weeks and, if necessary, surgical treatment of infectious foci. Mortality is less than 2% even in the absence of treatment.


  • Prevention of occupational infection is based on the observance of biosafety and occupational health measures: washing hands, wearing gloves, masks and glasses, etc.
  • Contamination with foodborne Brucella is controlled either by pasteurization or sterilization of the milk, or by using raw milk from herds officially recognized as free from brucellosis.

The traveler will avoid unpasteurized dairy products and undercooked meats.especially when traveling to countries endemic for brucellosis.

Source: ProMED.

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