Date: Mon 25 Jun 2018
Source: AGES (The Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety) press release [in German, trans. submitter SZ, edited]
On [Fri 22 Jun 2018] AGES confirmed brucellosis in a dairy herd in the Rohrbach district in Upper Austria.
Since January , increased number of abortions in cows and calf deaths have occurred on the affected farm. The farm's veterinarian investigated and collected blood samples. AGES confirmed brucellosis on [Fri 22 Jun 2018].
The competent authority acted without delay and has already taken all relevant measures. The dairy farm affected is currently restricted from selling milk and moving animals.
Brucellosis is a disease caused by bacteria of the genus Brucella. The infection of humans usually takes place via foods such as raw milk. Infection of farmers or veterinarians is also possible when assisting cows during parturition or when handling aborted material. In Austria, during the last decade, between 1 and 7 imported cases per year were found in humans. In 2018, 2 cases of brucellosis have been reported in humans.
Brucellosis is a very rare disease in humans and animals in Austria. The incubation period of brucellosis is usually 1 to 2 months. Up to 90 percent of all infections are without disease symptoms; infection can only be detected by testing for specific antibodies in the patient, they are an expression of an effective immune defense.
In acute [human] brucellosis, early symptoms are fatigue, mild fever, headache and body aches. After a short, symptom-free interval, flu-like symptoms may appear, which do not stop after 7 to 10 days, as is usual with influenza.
A typical indicator of brucellosis infection are elevated evening temperature (up to 40 C [104 F]) associated with excessive sweating. The disease can be treated with antibiotics.
In Austria, the cattle population (since 1999) and the sheep and goat populations (since 2001) are officially recognized free of this pathogen. The control of this animal disease in the present case focuses on the detection, isolation and culling of the infected animals as well as on the control of animal movements in order to avoid the spread of the pathogen. The milk from the affected farm has not caused any risk to consumers, since it is consistently undergone the compulsory pasteurization.
Castleview English Longhorns
According to Austria's most recent periodic report to the OIE (Jun-Dec 2017), the last identification of Brucellosis (Brucella abortus) in Austria took place in March 2008.
Hopefully the epidemiological investigation undertaken by Austria's animal health authorities will discover soon the source of infection, and identify/test any other animal holding(s) which may have been in contact with the affected farm during recent months.
AGES is a company of the Republic of Austria, owned by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection and the Austrian Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism. AGES was founded on 1st June, 2002.
Further exhaustive information on Brucellosis in animals is available in OIE's terrestrial Manual at