Brucellosis is a systemic bacterial disease of animals caused by one of several Brucella species (abortus, melitensis, suis, canis) that can be transmitted to humans through one of three methods: 1) consumption of contaminated milk or meat; 2) handling of infected animal fetuses, vaginal fluid, or products of birth; or 3) inhalation of the organism in laboratories or slaughterhouses. Person-to-person transmission has been recorded by sexual activity and breast-feeding mothers.
Brucella cases in humans rarely occur in Indiana or elsewhere in the United States due to the efforts of the USDA and state animal health agencies to eliminate Brucella from livestock herds over the last 60-70 years.
No cases of brucellosis were reported in Indiana in 2003.
Since Brucella can be transmitted by inhalation, it is considered a Category B bioterrorism agent.