Brucellosis is an extremely transmissible zoonotic infection. Bacterial genus Brucella is responsible for the infection. Brucellaare transferred from animals to humans through consumption of infected foodstuff, undercooked meat, or unpasteurized milk from diseased animals; direct contact with an infected animal or their discharges; or inhalation of aerosols. According to the WHO, zoonotic diseases and infections are naturally transferred between vertebrate animals and humans. A zoonotic agent may be a fungus, virus, bacterium, or any other infectious disease agent. Brucellosis is an old disease that has been known by several names such as undulant fever, gastric remittent fever, Malta fever, and Mediterranean fever. Humans are unintended hosts, but brucellosis continues to be a highly significant community health concern at the global level and the most common zoonotic infection as well.
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Brucella bacteria are minor aerobic intracellular coccobacilli, which are localized in reproductive organs of the host animal, causing infertility and abortions. They are sheltered in large numbers in the animal’s placental fluid, milk, urine, and other fluids. To date, eight species of Brucella bacteria have been identified, termed primarily after the source animal or symptoms of infection. Out of these, four species possess medium to serious human pathogenicity. These are Brucella canis(transferred from dogs; moderate pathogenicity), Brucella abortus (transferred from cattle; moderate pathogenicity), Brucella suis (transferred from pigs; high pathogenicity), and Brucella melitensis (transferred from sheep; maximum pathogenicity).
Even though brucellosis infection occurs in pets, it is also observed in wild animals that are found in herds (for example, wild boar in Germany and elk or bison in North America). Humans have only a partial threat of infection from wild animals, mostly due to lack of contact and rare use of meat and milk of these wild animals. There have been concerns about the spread of infection to farming livestock due to contact of wild animals with pets; however, the supporting proof in this regard is limited. The worldwide burden of human brucellosis remains very high. More than 500,000 infections are caused by animals across the world every year. The yearly figure of reported cases in the U.S. (currently, around 100) has dropped considerably, owing to milk pasteurization and aggressive animal vaccination campaigns. Most of the cases in the U.S. are caused by the intake of unpasteurized dairy foods imported from Mexico. Nearly 60% of human brucellosis cases in the country are currently found in California and Texas.
Brucella abortus vaccines play an essential role in bovine brucellosis eradication or control programs. They have been effectively used worldwide for several years. RB51 and Strain 19 are accepted B. abortus vaccines strains, most frequently used to protect cattle from abortion and infection. B. abortus vaccines such as Strain 19 are live attenuated vaccines. Strain 19 was the first vaccine to be used widely for bovine brucellosis treatment or control. Strain 19 vaccine has been used in the U.S. since 1941 and it is still in use in various countries worldwide. B. abortus strain RB51, a Rifampicin-resistant strain, lacks of appearance of LPS (lipopolysaccharide) O-side chains (OPS). In 1982, Prof. Gerhardt Schurig et al. developed the RB51 vaccine strain by isolating it from infectious smooth B. abortus biovar 1 strain 2308. There are several factors boosting the market for brucellosis vaccines including technological innovations, increasing awareness about animal health, and rising funding by government organizations and associations. Also, the increased demand for fish, eggs, milk, and animal protein and risen expenditure on health care of companion animals are driving the brucellosis vaccines market.