Infections and Infestations

What is brucellosis?

Brucellosis (Bang’s disease, Malta fever, Undulant fever, Mediterranean fever) is a highly infective zoonotic disease (disease that spreads from animals to humans) that is usually transmitted through the ingestion of unpasteurized milk, meat of infected animals and contact with body secretion of the animals. Even transmission from human-to-human and mother-to-child is possible although rare. Fever, sweating, body ache, muscle pain are the most common presenting features of brucellosis. Antibiotic therapy (tetracycline, rifampicin, streptomycin) is the mainstay of treatment. Pasteurization of milk and milk products (cheese) and proper handling of animals can prevent brucella infection.

What is bilharzia?

Bilharzia or snail fever (schistomiasis) is an infective disease caused by different species of trematodes (flukes) belonging to the genus Schistosoma. It is also referred to as bilharziasis. After malaria,  bilharziasis is the most common parasitic infection in humans. The disease spreads through contact with contaminated water. Snails act as the intermediary host between Schistosoma parasite and humans. The infection is not life threatening but when left untreated develops into chronic disease with chances of damaging internal organs and even leading to bladder cancer. The disease is highly prevalent (endemic) in tropical and sub-tropical countries due to poor sanitation.