Bovine brucellosis is one of the most important zoonotic diseases worldwide, and is of particular significance in developing countries. The disease, which results in serious economic losses due to late term abortion, stillborn and weakly calves, is caused by Gram negative coccobacilli bacteria of the genus Brucella. Lesions consist of necrotic placentitis and interstitial mastitis in pregnant cows, and fibrinous pleuritis with interstitial pneumonia in aborted fetuses and newborn calves. This article considers the pathogenesis of Brucella abortus and reviews the ability of the pathogen to invade phagocytic and non-phagocytic host cells, resist the acidified intraphagosomal environment, and inhibit phagosome-lysosome fusion. Significant aspects of innate and adaptive immunity against brucellosis are also discussed.
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