An Outbreak of Brucellosis: An Adult and Pediatric Case Series

Linda Hassouneh, Syeda Quadri, Patricia Pichilingue Reto, Sujittra Chaisavaneeyakorn, James B. Cutrell, Dawn M. Wetzel, Ank E. Nijhawan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Brucellosis is recognized as a neglected zoonotic disease and a major public health threat. The purpose of this study was to characterize epidemiological risk factors and healthcare utilization and compare clinical aspects of disease among adult and pediatric cases in North Texas. Methods: A retrospective chart review of electronic medical records was completed at 3 large tertiary centers-Parkland Health and Hospital System, Clements University Hospital, and Children's Medical Center-between January 1, 2007 and June 1, 2017. Demographic, clinical, and laboratory variables were collected. Cases were defined as confirmed or probable. Results: Twenty-eight cases of brucellosis were identified: 26 confirmed (9 children, 17 adults) and 2 probable cases (1 child, 1 adult). Half (n = 14) were diagnosed in 2016 during an outbreak in Dallas County. Risk factors associated with infection were consumption of unpasteurized cheese (71%), recent travel (54%), close contact to a confirmed human brucellosis case (36%), and exposure to animals (11%). Median days of symptoms was 10 and 16 for children and adults, respectively. The majority (79%) of patients visited the emergency department before diagnosis and 93% were hospitalized. Fever was the most common symptom in children (80%) and adults (100%). Hepatitis (75% of children) and anemia (82% of adults) were the most common laboratory abnormalities. The most common complication in children was splenic lesions (40%), and the most common complication in adults was hepato/splenomegaly (39%). Conclusions: The diagnosis of Brucella infection requires a high index of suspicion and should be considered in patients presenting with a febrile illness and a compatible exposure history.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberofz384
JournalOpen Forum Infectious Diseases
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019


  • Brucella
  • brucellosis
  • case series
  • outbreak

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Clinical Neurology


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