Occupational Medicine & Health Affairs
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Brucellosis is a bacterial disease of animals (zoonosis) that under certain circumstances can be transmitted to humans.
Brucella spp. particularly B. melitensis, B. abortus, and B. suis represent a significant public health concern in many
countries worldwide. It is well documented that brucellosis has been associated with laboratory-acquired infections. However,
Saudi Arabia is hyperendemic for brucellosis, with more than 8000 cases reported each year to public health authorities. This
highlights the need to maintain the preventive measures amongst laboratory workers against infectious occupational risks
of brucellosis. The important means of prevention include careful wound dressing, use of protective measures like wearing
glasses, wearing of disposal medical gloves and clothing. Laboratory workers should be educated about transmission routes,
risks and prevention of laboratory-acquired infection when first recruited for work and periodically afterwards. Increased
adherence to personal protective equipment and use of biosafety cabinet should be priority targets to prevent laboratoryacquired
infection like brucellosis. Work is ongoing to find an effective vaccine for humans. There is controversy about the
effectiveness of postexposure antimicrobial prophylaxis.
Meshref Awad Al-Ruwaili is an Associate Professor in Al-Jouf University, and Member of American Society for Microbiology and Saudi Society for Food and
Nutrition.He has published 22 scientific papers in various journals.
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