Srinagar: At a time when complaints of fever are rampant, doctors have asked people to be wary of the type that is symptomatic of Brucellosis, a highly contagious disease transmitted to humans from infected animals.
Brucellosis is caused by ingestion of unpasteurized milk or undercooked meat from, or closed contact with secretions of, infected domestic animals.
Symptoms of the disease are similar to those characterised by fever but with emphasis on muscular pain and sweating. Blood tests usually show anemia and decrease in the number of white blood cells. It can last from a few weeks to several months or even years.
Dr Mohammad Suhail, a senior resident at the department of microbiology SKIMS, Soura, said the cases of Brucellosis have been increasing in Kashmir and not many people are aware of it.
Patients who have fever for more than three weeks often get diagnosed with conditions like tuberculosis or Brucellosis, etc, he said.
“At least 4.1% of the patients whose fever persists for more than three weeks and undergo special tests are diagnosed with Brucellosis in Kashmir. The percentage is 4.96 in Jammu,” Dr Suhail said.
People living in close contact with domestic livestock animals or pets are at risk. Therefore experts suggest proper slaughtering of animals to reduce the chances of infection.
Dr Bashir Ahmad Fomda, professor department of microbiology at SKIMS, Soura, said an estimated 500,000 people are infected with Brucellosis worldwide annually.
“The actual global prevalence of human Brucellosis is unknown because of the imprecision of diagnosis and the inadequacy of reporting and surveillance systems in many countries,” he said.
The standard diagnostic methods for Brucellosis include blood culture and blood serum tests.
Dr Bashir advises people to avoid consumption of unpasteurized dairy products like milk and cheese and undercooked meat.