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Outbreak of brucellosis in southern Chile

Monday, January 8th 2007 - 20:00 UTC
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An outbreak of bovine brucellosis has been confirmed in the Chilean province of Osorno, according to the Minister of Agriculture Alvaro Rojas.

Measures to isolate the outbreak in the rural area of Osorno have been taken and "we're talking with farmers about the complications to rural activities which this entails", Rojas is quoted by an Osorno daily adding that since "we have an open alert system", the re-appearance of the outbreak was rapidly detected". However Chile's Agriculture and Livestock Service, SAG, responsible for animal and plant's health, admitted that the exact location of outbreaks has yet to be determined. Luis Paredes, from SAG's Livestock department said that the outbreaks come as a "great surprise", since "Osorno has been the region which has most advanced in the matter and no outbreaks had been reported for a very long time". "We believe we are facing isolated cases but it's a call of attention to remind us we must be alert at all times", added Paredes. Veterinary surgeon Francisco Lanuza recalled that immunization of heifers is essential to avoid the outbreaks of the disease, and must be done when calves have are 5 to 8 months old. Brucellosis is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria of the genus Brucella. These bacteria are primarily passed among animals, and they cause disease in many different vertebrates. Various Brucella species affect sheep, goats, cattle, deer, elk, pigs, dogs, and several other animals. Humans become infected by coming in contact with animals or animal products that are contaminated with these bacteria. In livestock the bacteria attacks mainly cattle in reproductive age causing abortions. An infected animal can rapidly spread the disease particularly in areas of high density or concentration such as dairy farming. In humans brucellosis can cause a range of symptoms that are similar to the flu and may include fever, sweats, headaches, back pains, and physical weakness. Osorno is 900 kilometres south of Santiago and north of Puerto Montt

Categories: Health & Science, Mercosur.

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