Brucellosis in childhood in the Western Cape

Hendricks, M. K. ; Perez, E. M. ; Burger, P. J. ; Mouton, P. A. (1993)

CITATION: Hendricks, M. K., et al . 1993. Brucellosis in childhood in the Western Cape. South African Medical Journal, 85:176-178.

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Human brucellosis, a multisystem disease which may mimic other conditions, has a low incidence in childhood and the diagnosis may easily be missed. Over a 7-month period 9 children with brucellosis presented to the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Tygerberg Hospital. Six of the children had consumed unpasteurised milk. The main presenting symptoms were fever, fatigue, headache, myalgia and haematuria. Clinical signs included lymphadenopathy (3), nasopharyngitis (2), features of lower respiratory tract infection (2), splenomegaly (2) and pyrexia (1). The diagnosis was made on the basis of a positive serological titre (> 1:160) for Brucella abortus. The prozone phenomenon was encountered in 6 cases; however, the Coombs test confirmed the diagnosis in these cases. Children under 7 years were treated with co-trimoxazole and rifampicin and those over 7 years with tetracycline and rifampicin, for at least 6 weeks. No relapses were detected on follow-up.

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