Caprine and ovine brucellosis, caused by the zoonotic bacterium Brucella melitensis, is an economically important cause of abortion in small ruminants. This infection causes significant losses from decreased productivity and lost trade in much of the developing world. B. melitensis is considered to be a re-emerging pathogen in the Middle East. It has been eradicated from some nations, but the cost of surveillance to remain B. melitensis-free is significant.
B. melitensis is also an important human pathogen. In humans, brucellosis is a serious, debilitating and sometimes chronic disease that can affect a variety of organs. Most cases are the result of occupational exposure to infected animals, but infections can also occur from ingesting contaminated dairy products. In addition, B. melitensis could be used in a bioterrorist attack.
Iowa State University
Iowa State University Center for Food Security and Public Health, "Ovine and Caprine Brucellosis: Brucella melitensis" (2009). Center for Food Security and Public Health Technical Factsheets. 24.