With brucellosis continuing to infect cattle herds across Mzansi the South African Veterinary Council (SAVC) is now urging the public not to drink unpasteurised milk, and to take caution with raw meat.
This is to protect themselves from the bacterial disease which is endemic in all nine provinces. Animal health experts warn brucellosis is transmittable to humans through the consumption of raw materials originating from the infected herd, such as unpasteurised milk, cream, ice-cream, butter, and cheeses.
The SAVC furthermore warn that the disease causes fever, headaches, night sweats, fatigue, weight loss, chills, loss of appetite, joint, muscle and back pain in humans.
Also, anyone who has consumed raw milk and had symptoms of brucellosis must see their doctor immediately for testing.
This is to determine whether they are possibly infected and need antibiotics to prevent long-term health problems. If left untreated, brucellosis may cause complications in just one organ or throughout the body.
According to the department of agriculture, land reform and rural development more than a thousand new infected herd units were reported to them countrywide over the past five years. The current hotspot areas are in the Free State, Eastern Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal, with more cases still being reported.
The SAVC furthermore announced that due to the increased risk around this disease, November and December have been recognised as national brucellosis awareness months. The SAVC, in collaboration with the National Animal Health Forum (NAHF), government and all their associated partners therefore launched a campaign called #BrakesonBrucellosis to increase awareness of this disease to drive extensive awareness and education.
The campaign will be continuing into December and the public is urged to follow their social media pages and websites for more information on this disease and the precautions you can take.