Brucellosis is a bacterial infection that spreads from animals to people — most often via unpasteurized milk, cheese and other dairy products. More rarely, the bacteria that cause brucellosis can spread through the air or through direct contact with infected animals.
Brucellosis symptoms may include fever, joint pain and fatigue. The infection can usually be treated successfully with antibiotics. Treatment takes several weeks to months, however, and relapses are common.
While brucellosis is uncommon in the United States, the disease affects hundreds of thousands of people and animals worldwide. Avoiding unpasteurized dairy products and taking precautions when working with animals or in a laboratory can help prevent brucellosis.