Gram negative short rods. B. abortus, B. canis, B. melitensis, B. suis, B. neotomae They can be very slow to grow, I had one blood culture turn positive on the 42nd day of incubation. Let the lab know you are looking for it.
Worldwide, from expose to animals, especially unpasteurized dairy products.
B. abortus: cattle, buffalo, camels (Pubmed).
B. canis: found primarily in kennel-raised dogs.
B. melitensis: goats and sheep, less often camels, cattle herds in Israel.
B. suis biovars 1-3: domestic and wild swine in the US, dogs in the South (PubMed), cattle. B. suis biovar 4 reindeer and caribou, nearly caused the death of Santa, at least that is what I tell my kids as the reason why they did not get any Christmas presents: Santa had undulant fever. Same reason we have rabbit as our traditional Easter dinner.
Bison and elk spread (PubMed) it to livestock as can feral pigs. Good name for a band. Feral Pigs. Thrash metal for sure.
B. neotomae, found in woodrats, infected two humans in Costa Rica (PubMed).
A nonspecific febrile syndrome 2 - 4 weeks after exposure. Depression is common, and the illness can be acute, subacute and local suppurative complications can occur anywhere, esp bone, joints, liver, CNS (PubMed), spleen, testicles, or kidneys. Eye involvement with chronic disease not uncommon; esp uveitis (PubMed). Fagets sign may be a hint.
Best bet may be doxycycline 100 mg twice a day and rifampin 10mg/kg body weight/day po for eight weeks, plus 7.5 mg/kg amikacin twice a day for seven days (PubMed) or gentamicin for the first week (PubMed).Tetracycline 500 mg po qid OR doxycycline 100 po bid for 6 weeks WITH streptomycin 1 g/day im for the first 3 weeks OR doxycycline (100 mg administered orally twice daily for 45 days) in combination with either streptomycin (1 g administered intramuscularly daily for 14 days) or gentamicin (5 mg/kg per day administered intramuscularly for 7 days) are equivalent (PubMed) OR Doxycycline 100 po bid PLUS rifampin 600 to 900 mg/day po for 6 weeks. Ciprofloxacin and rifampin is also an option.
CNS infections may require longer courses of therapy (PubMed).
Spinal osteo is associated with poor outcomes and should be treated with at least three months of therapy (PubMed).
DNA can be found in treated patients YEARS after therapy stops (PubMed).
There is a case of Brucella reactivating 28 years after initial infection (PubMed).
It can be spread sexually male to female, although why someone would have sex with active orchitis is beyond me (PubMed).
And spinal infection has been found in a 2.5 million year old human fossil (PubMed).