Objectives: We conducted an investigation on 14 cases of brucellosis in Gyeongsangbuk-do during 2003-2004 to understand the source of infection and the transmission routes of brucellosis.
Methods: The authors visited the each of the health centers and we examined the patients, their written epidemiologic questionnaire and the occurrence of bovine brucellosis. We visited the patients' living and work areas, and we examined their occupations, the date they developed symptoms, the progress of their symptoms, whether or not they were treated, their current status, whether or not they consumed raw milk and raw meat, and if their work was related to cattle breeding and the related details. We reviewed the results of the blood tests and medical records and we examined the cattle's barn.
Results: There were 3 patients in 2003 and 11 patients in 2004. All of their brucella antibody titer exceeded 1:160. The patients' symptoms were fever, myalgia, malaise, chills and an influenza-like illness, but the clinical signs were absent on the medical records. Brucella abortus were cultured from 3 of the patients' blood samples.
Conclusions: When the authors discovered the transmission routes, they were divided into 4 different sorts. The first route was related to cattle birth such that patients touched the calves or placentas that were infected with the Brucella species. The second route was related to performing artificial insemination on the cattle and the semen that was used for artificial insemination. The third route was due to the ingestion of raw meat and milk. The last route was due to sexual intercourse between the patients.