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Brucellosis Facts (cont.)

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What specialists treat brucellosis?

Although the patient's primary-care provider (including internists and family practitioners) can treat brucellosis, it is not unusual to consult infectious-disease specialists, neurologists, rheumatologists, and specialists in travel medicine about treatment and/or prevention of this disease. In severe infections, other specialists may be consulted (for example, urologists, obstetrician-gynecologists [for infected pregnant patients]) depending on the organ system most altered.

How do physicians diagnose brucellosis?

Brucellosis is diagnosed preliminarily by the patient's history of exposure to likely sources of Brucella bacteria and the patient's clinical symptoms. Confirmation of the diagnosis is made by culturing Brucella bacteria from the patient. In addition, there are serological tests for the organisms done on the patient's blood specimens. These tests look for IgM or IgG antibodies directed against the bacteria. However, the CDC recommends that these tests be confirmed by a Brucella-specific agglutination test, a specific test that is usually run by a specialty laboratory. These tests help differentiate brucellosis from leptospirosis, malaria, tularemia, and other diseases that may produce similar symptoms.

What are brucellosis treatments?

According to the CDC, doxycycline (Vibramycin, Oracea, Adoxa, Atridox) and rifampin (Rifadin) are the recommended antibiotics, taken in combination, for a minimum of six to eight weeks to treat infected patients. This long treatment time is due to the organism's ability to survive inside human cells; consequently, the CDC recommends that a firm diagnosis be established before long-term antibiotic treatment is begun. Individuals who are immunosuppressed and pregnant patients, in most cases, should be treated in consultation with an infectious-disease specialist.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/7/2016


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