Diagnostic and therapeutic challenges of childhood brucellosis in a nonendemic country

Mark W. Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. We sought to define the current epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and course of childhood brucellosis in the United States. METHODS. A retrospective chart review was performed of 20 patients who received a diagnosis of brucellosis over a period of 13 years at a large, tertiary care children's hospital in Dallas, Texas. Diagnostic criteria, epidemiology, clinical presentations, and outcomes were recorded. RESULTS. Ninety-five percent of the patients had a recent history of either travel to Mexico or ingestion of unpasteurized milk products from Mexico. Fever was an initial complaint in 80% of the patients, and 50% of the patients presented with arthritis. Diagnosis was made via the identification of Brucella melitensis in the blood cultures of 18 patients. Five patients experienced relapse, and 3 experienced treatment failure. CONCLUSIONS. Childhood brucellosis in the United States is now an imported disease, primarily from Mexico. In the context of this epidemiologic link, the diagnosis should be entertained for a patient who presents with signs of systemic inflammation and arthritis. Therapeutic challenges remain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e1178-e1183
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2008


  • Brucellosis
  • Child
  • Epidemiology
  • Mexico
  • United states
  • Zoonoses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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