BRUCELLOSIS-AN UNDER-ESTIMATED CAUSE OF ARTHRALGIA & MUSCULAR PAINS IN GENERAL POPULATION
AbstractBackground: Muscular pains, arthralgias and arthritis are among the most common symptoms of thepatients attending various OPDs and private clinics every day. While the symptoms could be due to abroad spectrum of the illnesses; the infection with Brucella, often overlooked, is one among suchcauses. The objective of present study is to determine the extent to which this infection contributestowards the presence of such symptoms, and how important it is to rule out this treatable cause in oursociety, before labelling and treating these as non-specific aches and pains. Methods: This prospectivestudy was conducted on 280 patients at a registered medical specialist clinic between May 2006 andJune 2008. The patients of each gender from age 15 years onwards having the symptoms of chronicmuscular pains, backache, and arthralgias etc. were included in the study. The exclusion criteria wereclear cut bone and joint diseases, connective tissue and systemic disorders. The patients were subjectedto evaluation by history taking that especially looked into their involvement with cattle look-after andalso the use of milk and other dairy items. The investigations included agglutination test for Brucella.The positive cases were treated and the results followed for satisfactory or mild responses. Results: Outof 280 cases 55 (19.64%) were suffering from infection with Brucella. The above patients had receivednon-specific treatment with analgesics or even steroids with no benefit. The young femalesoutnumbered males, and rural cases had more incidence than urban; and there was a slight increase inthose cases who handled the cattle at home as compared to those who did not. Conclusion: In absenceof a good veterinary care of live stock in societies like that of Pakistan , it becomes important to ruleout Brucellosis, before labelling the symptoms of a patient as simple, non specific aches and pains;and therefore depriving the patient of a treatable disease if he had one.Keywords: Brucellosis, Myalgias, Arthralgias, Fever, Dairy, Cattle
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