Biological Weapons --
Brucellosis



In the United States, there are less than 0.5 cases per 100,000 population. Most incidences are reported from California, Florida, Texas, and Virginia. For previous 10 years, approximately 100 cases per year have been reported which is required by law.

Brucellosis is highly infectious via the aerosol route. It is estimated that inhalation of only 10 to 100 bacteria is sufficient to cause disease in man. Though rarely fatal, it is very debilitating and disabling, often producing relapses. For these reasons, brucellosis is a prime biowarfare agent.
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Symptoms





Incubation is generally 3-4 weeks but may be as short as 1 week or as long as several months.

"Flu-like" symptoms including chills, sweats, headache, fatigue, loss of appetite and muscle or joint aches. A cough occurs in 15-25%, but the chest x-ray usually is normal. Symptoms often last 3-6 months and occasionally for longer than a year.


How does it spread? Human-to-human transmission has occurred after sexual activity with an infected partner and via tissue transplants. Most cases are associated with eating unpasteurized dairy products, or with slaughter house and veterinary work.

Diagnosis
Diagnosis can't be made quickly. Blood cultures require a 2 month incubation period. Bone marrow cultures produce a higher yield.

Treatment
Antibiotic treatment usually consists of doxycycline + rifampin or doxycycline in combination with other medications for 6 weeks.

Specifics on treatment can be found here

Vaccine
None available for people, but they are available for animals.

Mortality
Fatalities aren't common - seen in about 5% of untreated cases

Sources:

CDC; http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/brucellosis_t.htm
Federation of American Scientists; http://www.fas.org/nuke/intro/bw/agent.htm
USAMRIID's Medical Management of Biological Casualties Handbood; Fourth Edition February 2001; pages 9-10; http://usamriid.detrick.army.mil/education/bluebook/bluebook.pdf

All contents © 2001 Stan and Holly Deyo. All rights reserved.

This information may be used by you freely for noncommercial use only with
my name and E-mail address attached.
Holly Deyo, E-mail: hollydeyo@standeyo.com
URL: http://standeyo.com/News_Files/NBC/Bio.Bugs.Plague.html