How the infection is spread

Humans usually become infected with brucellosis in one of the following ways:

  • by consuming unpasteurised milk or milk products (such as soft cheeses) from infected animals, or very rarely, by eating raw meat from these animals
  • by inhaling it in dust on farms with infected animals or in abattoirs
  • through contact with cultures in medical or veterinary laboratories
  • throughdirect contact with infected animals or surfaces for example, a farmworker may become infected if the bacteria get into broken skin or their eyes

Person-to-person spread is very rare, although there have been cases of transmission from mother to baby through breastfeeding, and through sexual contact.

People at highest risk of brucellosis are laboratory workers, veterinarians, farmers and abattoir workers.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018