To reduce the risk of getting brucellosis, take these precautions:
- Avoid unpasteurized dairy foods. In recent years in the United States, few cases of brucellosis have been linked to raw dairy products from domestic herds. Still, it's probably best to avoid unpasteurized milk, cheese and ice cream, no matter what their origin. If you're traveling to other countries, avoid all raw dairy foods.
- Cook meat thoroughly. Cook all meat until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 to 165 F (63 to 74 C). When eating out, order beef and pork at least medium-well. It's unlikely that domestic meat in the United States contains brucella bacteria, but proper cooking destroys other harmful bacteria such as salmonella and Escherichia coli. When traveling abroad, avoid buying meat from street vendors, and order all meat well-done.
- Wear gloves. If you're a veterinarian, farmer, hunter or slaughterhouse worker, wear rubber gloves when handling sick or dead animals or animal tissue or when assisting an animal giving birth.
- Take safety precautions in high-risk workplaces. If you're a laboratory worker, handle all specimens under appropriate biosafety conditions. Treat all workers who have been exposed promptly. Slaughterhouses should also follow protective measures, such as separation of the killing floor from other processing areas and use of protective clothing.
- Vaccinate domestic animals. In the United States, an aggressive vaccination program has nearly eliminated brucellosis in livestock herds. Because the brucellosis vaccine is live, it can cause disease in people. Anyone who has an accidental needle stick while vaccinating an animal should be treated.