Clinical manifestations and complications in 1028 cases of brucellosis: a retrospective evaluation and review of the literature

Int J Infect Dis. 2010 Jun;14(6):e469-78. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2009.06.031. Epub 2009 Nov 11.


Introduction: Brucellosis is the most prevalent bacterial zoonosis worldwide. In this study, we aimed to compare our 1028 brucellosis cases with other big series in the literature in view of epidemiological, clinical, and laboratory findings and therapeutic features.

Methods: A total of 1028 brucellosis cases admitted to the Department of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology over a 10-year period were included in the study. A retrospective analysis was undertaken and patient files were reviewed for history, clinical and laboratory findings, and therapeutic features, as well as complications.

Results: Of the 1028 patients, 539 (52.4%) were female and 489 (47.6%) were male. The mean age of patients was 33.7+/-16.34 years and 69.6% of cases were aged 13-44 years. Four hundred and thirty-five cases (42.3%) had a history of raising livestock and 55.2% of the cases were found to have no occupational risk for brucellosis. Six hundred and fifty-four of the cases (63.6%) had a history of raw milk and dairy products consumption. The most frequently seen symptoms were arthralgia (73.7%) and fever (72.2%), while the most common clinical findings were fever (28.8%) and hepatomegaly (20.6%). The most frequent laboratory finding was a high C-reactive protein level (58.4%). The standard tube agglutination (STA) test+Coombs STA test was positive in 1016 cases (98.8%). Focal involvement was present in 371 (36.1%) cases. The most frequent involvement was osteoarticular involvement with 260 cases (25.3%). The overall relapse rate for patients with brucellosis was 4.7%. The highest relapse rate, 8.5%, was observed in the group of patients with osteoarticular involvement. Regimens including doxycycline and streptomycin with or without rifampin appeared more effective than other regimens in osteoarticular involvement.

Conclusions: In humans, brucellosis may lead to serious morbidity, and it continues to be a major health problem in Turkey. There is no recommended treatment protocol for complicated brucellosis. Large multicenter studies are needed to determine the most appropriate treatment choices and durations in complicated brucellosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arthralgia / diagnosis
  • Arthralgia / microbiology
  • Arthritis / microbiology
  • Bone Diseases / diagnosis
  • Bone Diseases / microbiology
  • Brucellosis / complications*
  • Brucellosis / diagnosis*
  • Brucellosis / drug therapy
  • Brucellosis / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dairy Products / microbiology
  • Female
  • Fever / diagnosis
  • Fever / microbiology
  • Hepatomegaly / diagnosis
  • Hepatomegaly / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nervous System Diseases / microbiology
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases / microbiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Turkey / epidemiology