East Africa: Raw milk breeds fever disease

| April 18, 2016

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Researchers warn that brucellosis—an infectious disease that causes fevers in humans—is spreading in pastoral areas of East Africa through contaminated milk. Consumer preferences and poor dairy processing techniques are contributing to the spread.

The Brucella bacteria which cause the disease are shed in the urine, milk, and other bodily fluids of infected livestock.

People who prefer drinking raw milk are at greater risk of contracting the fever disease because it can spread through untreated and contaminated milk. The spread of brucellosis can be prevented by pasteurizing milk and by providing good veterinary care for livestock.

Jo Halliday is an epidemiologist at Glasgow University in the United Kingdom. She says that controlling brucellosis is important to avoid animal deaths and human illness.

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Photo credit: Sven Torfinn/Panos