Can Brucellosis cross between species?

Bruce asks whether there might be any connection between the miscarriages in his family and their farm animals
20 September 2022


Cow in a farm



I used to work on my parents' farm, where we vaccinated cows against Brucellosis, which can cause miscarriage. My wife, and latterly my son's wife, have had problems with miscarriage. Could there be any connection?


Jonathan Reisman answered this question...

Jonathan - I think that acute brucellosis infection - that is, infection with bacteria in the genus brucell - is known to cause miscarriage, especially in animals. It's one of the most common causes, infectious causes, of miscarriage. And it does seem to also, with acute infection, cause a miscarriage in a high number of women. I saw some studies that have just under 50% of women with acute brucellosis for a miscarriage. I think that outside the context of an acute infection with fever, that's harder to say there are some chronic brucellosis infections that can be smouldering over years. I don't think it's as clear that they cause miscarriage at all, so I doubt if there's any symptoms of any kind or there's any acute infection with fever, probably not related to those miscarriages that seem to run in the family. There are many other things that can cause miscarriage for it to run in families, such as clotting disorders, but I doubt it's chronic brucellosis as the cause.

Chris - Thank you for clearing up Bruce's problem anyway.


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