Brucellosis is a common zoonotic disease that spreads from animals to human. Human brucellosis is caused by bacteria of the genus Brucella. Brucella abortus, B. melitensis, B. canis, B. suis, B. ovis remain the principal causes of human brucellosis worldwide and are major public health problem. In Korea, since the first case of human brucellosis in 2002, almost cases have been caused by B. abortus and reported over the past 12 years. There was the first official case of human brucellosis caused by B. melitensis in Korea in 2015. B. melitensis is the most serious brucellosis all over the world. There were 2 cases in 2015, 3 cases in 2016 and 2 cases in 2017. We introduce human brucellosis cases caused by B. melitensis in 2015-2017 which were referred to Korea CDC.
Suspected blood samples of brucellosis were sent to Korea CDC and inoculated into media of BACTEC system to cultivate. As a result, 7 of 143 samples were identified as B. melitensis in BL3 lab. They were grown in Brucella agar plate and showed negative result for H2S production and positive reaction for oxidase and urease. Extracted DNA from isolates were amplified in Brucella specific genes by multiplex PCR and confirmed this DNA as B. melitensis species. In the serologically test on the basis of MAT (microagglutination test), 7 patients presented MAT titers of ≥1:80.
These seven cases identified as B. melitensis had clinical history that they had been abroad or got unpasteurized milk or camel milk or contact with sheep. In Korea there has no report of B. melitensis in animals until now. Although there was no naturally born B. melitensis case in Korea, we need to diagnose any kind of Brucella species. The visitors to endemic or epidemic areas with B. melitensis need to pay attention not to get contact with cattle, goat and sheep nor eat unpasteurized milk and dairy product.
Acknowledgements: This work was supported by Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(2016-NG52002-00, 4837-301-210-13, 4838-303-210-13)