Brucellosis is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria of the genus Brucella. Brucella is passed among animals such as cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, deer, dogs, and humans. Brucellosis is spread when an otherwise healthy animal comes in contact with an infected animal or an area which has been contaminated by an infected animal. Drinking, eating, or inhaling the bacteria will cause infection.

Common Names

Brucellosis is commonly known by the names of Bang’s disease and Rock fever.

Causative Organism

Brucella is the causative organism of the disease. The microbes enter the bodies of cattle and other animals through skin wounds and inhalation. Any bodily fluids, discharges, aborted fetuses, afterbirth, unpasteurized milk, or carcass from an infected animal can contain the infectious bacteria.

Common Symptoms

  1. If a pregnant animal is infected, it might give birth to weak or lame calf, or the calf may be aborted
  2. Milk production is reduced
  3. Enlarged joints with arthritis
  4. Uterine infections after birth
  5. Reduced rates of conception

How it Affects Cattle

Brucellosis causes considerable damage to cattle. Milk production is reduced to low levels and the animals steadily lose weight. The animals have problems while moving and grazing. Brucellosis is one of the most critical diseases of cattle. The speed of infection is fast and amount of damage caused by the disease is expensive. USDA studies show that Brucellosis has played a major role in destroying almost $80 million amount of beef and milk in the last 10 years.

Regional Impacts

Brucellosis can be found worldwide. It is more common in countries that do not have good domestic animal health programs. The countries of the Mediterranean Basin, South and Central America, Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and the Middle East are high risk areas.

Risks & Dangers

Brucellosis is transmitted to susceptible animals by direct contact with infected animals. Risks are too great when the disease is carried from one herd to another by an infected or exposed animal.


Repeated attempts to develop a cure for Brucellosis in animals have failed. Some animals may recover after a period of time but they pose more dangers. They can be powerful sources of infection.

Vaccines & Prevention

Vaccination is a must for cattle and bison. There is an approved Brucella vaccine which can be easily given to animals by an authorized veterinarian. Vaccination is most effective if it is done during 4 to 6 months of age. As control measures, Brucellosis may be avoided with good sanitation and management practices.

References and Resources