Wednesday, June 25, 2008

brucellosis

An article from The Straits Times (Saturday, 21 June 2008) Camel milk gives two people rare illness By Lee Hui Chieh Two Singaporeans came back after holidaying in Saudi Arabia with an exotic souvenir they had not bargained for -- a rare illness called brucellosis. Caused by a type of bacteria -- brucella -- it landed them in hospital for three weeks with a fever that just would not go away, the Ministry of Health disclosed yesterday. The cause of their illness has been identified as the fresh, but brucella-laced, camel milk they drank while on separate tours after they had performed the haj or Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca last December. They did not suspect the milk to be the culprit, because they fell sick only three to four months later. The incubation period of the brucella bacteria can be long, usually five to 60 days. The pair, who have since recovered following a regimen of antibiotics while in hospital, were diagnosed through blood tests. So rare is brucellosis here that the two were only the second and third individuals known to have come down with the disease here. The first case surfaced last year. People usually catch the illness after consuming unpasteurised milk or dairy products from infected cows, goats, sheep and camels. Areas considered high-risk include South and Central America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia. Yesterday, the Health Ministry advised the public to stay away from consuming unpasteurised milk and dairy products, raw meat and animal organs, especially when they are in high-risk areas. Travellers who have returned from these areas and eaten such items should look out for symptoms and see a doctor if they become unwell, it added.

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