Brucellosis in Georgia Deer

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Someone had told me it was gone in deer, but possibly have contracted a case...started treatment yesterday under direction of disease specialist!!
 
If the condition is the same in deer as in cattle it is in the mammary tissue of the deer and contracting it from deer by humans is bound to be rare. In cattle there is no outward symptoms except the new born are born dead. Cows are tested if in a suspect herd at the packing house and are safe for consumption after skinning and mammary tissue is removed. In my younger days I worked in packing houses as a beef boner and 2 times I had a confirmed reaction to brucelloses and one of those times I was hospitalized for 5 days. This problem in a given deer herd if gotten wide spread amongst the does could possibly end future offspring in the herd if the symptoms in deer are the same as cattle. Back when I had my problem with it the only way to diagnose it was with blood testing.
 
If the condition is the same in deer as in cattle it is in the mammary tissue of the deer and contracting it from deer by humans is bound to be rare. In cattle there is no outward symptoms except the new born are born dead. Cows are tested if in a suspect herd at the packing house and are safe for consumption after skinning and mammary tissue is removed. In my younger days I worked in packing houses as a beef boner and 2 times I had a confirmed reaction to brucelloses and one of those times I was hospitalized for 5 days. This problem in a given deer herd if gotten wide spread amongst the does could possibly end future offspring in the herd if the symptoms in deer are the same as cattle. Back when I had my problem with it the only way to diagnose it was with blood testing.
If deer get it, they typically get it from livestock. However, deer don't readily contract the disease as they are an inefficient host for the bacterium. While deer have contracted the disease, I don't believe there have been any population level impacts from it ever documented. Elk are more prone to infection and it can cause a lot of issues for them.
 
Someone had told me it was gone in deer, but possibly have contracted a case...started treatment yesterday under direction of disease specialist!!
Have you handled any feral pigs? That's the most common way hunters contract brucellosis. In some areas of Georgia a high percentage of pigs have brucellosis.
 

dick7.62

Senior Member
I just found this with the search feature. I have brucellosis, confirmed by a blood test. I had to have gotten it from deer because I have had no contact with wild hogs for years and had a negative test result since my last contact with hogs. I field dressed several deer without gloves this past season. Yes I know better but I was in a hurry. I had gloves in my hunting bag. Never again without gloves. I feel so bad now that the thought of going deer hunting is sickening. I have to take 2 antibiotics for 42 days. I'm hoping that I start feeling better soon.
 

jbogg

Senior Member
I just found this with the search feature. I have brucellosis, confirmed by a blood test. I had to have gotten it from deer because I have had no contact with wild hogs for years and had a negative test result since my last contact with hogs. I field dressed several deer without gloves this past season. Yes I know better but I was in a hurry. I had gloves in my hunting bag. Never again without gloves. I feel so bad now that the thought of going deer hunting is sickening. I have to take 2 antibiotics for 42 days. I'm hoping that I start feeling better soon.
Dang, sorry to hear you are going through that. I had no idea brucellosis could be contracted from deer. I shot a wild hog last year and while in a hurry trying to quarter it for the pack out I sliced through my glove and cut my hand with my Havalon knife. My Doc put my on a three week course of antibiotics prophylactically just to be on the safe side. I am a lot more careful now. Hope you feel better soon.
 
I just found this with the search feature. I have brucellosis, confirmed by a blood test. I had to have gotten it from deer because I have had no contact with wild hogs for years and had a negative test result since my last contact with hogs. I field dressed several deer without gloves this past season. Yes I know better but I was in a hurry. I had gloves in my hunting bag. Never again without gloves. I feel so bad now that the thought of going deer hunting is sickening. I have to take 2 antibiotics for 42 days. I'm hoping that I start feeling better soon.
Sorry to hear about that, it's a tough issue to deal with. Do you happen to know what type of brucellosis it is, such as Brucella suis or Brucella abortus?
 

Bkeepr

Senior Member
Hi I work in hospital microbiology lab. Very, very rarely we see Brucellosis in people. It is a slow growing bacteria that likes to invade the bone marrow, but in animals it starts as a venereal disease. B. suis targets hogs, B. abortus targets cattle, and B. melatensis (spelling??) targets goats and sheep. There is also one that targets dogs, B. canis I think. Old school houndsmen will ask for a negative Brucellosis test on other's dogs before they will let their hounds breed. When this bacteria is found in animals including dogs, they are put down. It is a pain to treat.
In people it causes vague flu-like symptoms and fever. The bacteria takes at least 3 days to grow in a blood culture bottle. That is a red flag for us and we handle it under a biological safety hood and send it to the state public health lab for further testing. In the event that a Brucella is handled outside of the safety hood, we all go nuts. Anyone that possibly handled the organism has to have blood drawn for baseline titer and a repeat titer a couple of months later, and start doxycycline as a preventative. For 2 weeks. Gack.
This organism is considered a possibility for use as a biological weapon, and it can get aerosolized. Hospitals are trained to watch for this and other bugs like Anthrax and the tularemia bacteria which is carried by rabbits.
 
What are the symptoms
Symptoms: Fever, back pain, body wide aches and pains, poor appetite and weight loss, headache, night sweats, weakness, and abdominal pain. I also had rapid pulse, probably from endocarditis which can be a complication from this. I had all the symptoms listed above. I lost weight without even trying. I was put on rifampin and doxycycline for 42 days. Only 37 days to go. I'm already having stomach problems from the antibiotics. But my fever has dropped and pain decreased a little. But it is still very rough.
 
I don't know how to interpret the lab results so I will tell you what it says. BRUCELLA AE (IGG, IGM) BRUCELLA IGG 1.56 H
Doesn't look like they give you the species of Brucella, there are different types for different animals which may better explain the chain of events of how you got it. There isn't a deer-specific strain, so if you got it from a deer the deer would have had to have gotten it from a pig, cow, sheep, or goat. The pig version is pretty well established in feral pigs, that's probably the most likely source.
 
Symptoms: Fever, back pain, body wide aches and pains, poor appetite and weight loss, headache, night sweats, weakness, and abdominal pain. I also had rapid pulse, probably from endocarditis which can be a complication from this. I had all the symptoms listed above. I lost weight without even trying. I was put on rifampin and doxycycline for 42 days. Only 37 days to go. I'm already having stomach problems from the antibiotics. But my fever has dropped and pain decreased a little. But it is still very rough.
I have to have a full meal before I can take doxy or it messes my stomach up pretty bad. Had to take it for a couple of weeks after cutting myself gutting a pig as a precaution.
 
I had bad reaction doxycycline, I was given doxycycline as precaution against lyme disease. I broke out in hives and my blood pressure went very high.

I wonder if they have a way to treat me for brucellosis.
 
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