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Paraguay: Two veterinary students infected with Brucella at National University of Asuncion

Two veterinary students at the School of Veterinary Sciences of the National University of Asuncion in Paraguay have been infected with brucellosis and claim the faculty were aware that the animals were sick, according to a Ultima Hora report (computer translated).

One student said in a statement that the authorities of the Faculty were aware that the animals were sick and although they notified them, it only arrived two days later to the students.

Paraguay/CIA

So far only two of them have been infected, but this week they will do more testing to see if others are infected.

Related: New York City issues advisory after imported Brucella melitensis cases expose microbiology laboratory workers

Brucellosis is a contagious disease of animals that also affects humans. The disease is also known as Bang’s Disease. In humans, it’s known as Undulant Fever.

Brucellosis is one of the most serious diseases of livestock, considering the damage done by the infection in animals. Decreased milk production, weight loss, loss of young, infertility, and lameness are some of the affects on animals.

The Brucella species are named for their primary hosts: Brucella melitensis is found mostly is goats,sheep and camels, B. abortus is a pathogen of cattle, B. suis is found primarily in swine and B. canis is found in dogs.

There are two common ways people get infected with brucellosis. First, individuals that work with infected animals that have not been vaccinated against brucellosis. This would include farmers, slaughterhouse workers and veterinarians.

Related: College microbiology classes linked to Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak

They get infected through direct contact or aerosols produced by the infected animal tissue. B. abortus and B. suis are most common.

The second way is through ingesting unpasteurized dairy products.

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Brucellosis is also an occupational hazard to laboratory workers who inappropriately handle specimens or have an accident or spill. Brucella is highly infectious in the aerosolized form.

If someone gets infected with Brucella, the incubation period is about 2-3 weeks, though it could be months. Fever, night sweats, severe headache and body aches and other non-specific symptoms may occur.

Acute and chronic brucellosis can lead to complications in multiple organ systems. The skeletal, central nervous system, respiratory tract, the liver, heart, gastrointestinal and genitourinary tracts can all be affected. Untreated brucellosis has a fatality rate of 5%.

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