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What is Bovine Brucellosis?

Bovine Brucellosis

Brucellosis in cattle is a highly contagious disease which is spread by infected material at time of calving or abortion and which can also result in infertility, morbidity and reduced milk yield. The organism is readily killed by disinfection. There are also human health risks because the disease may be transmitted by drinking unpasteurised milk from infected cows, by inhalation, cuts and abrasions, or by droplet infection. The only clinical symptom of brucellosis in cattle is abortion and it is obligatory to report all abortions to the Department's local Regional Veterinary Office (RVO), to submit foetus/foetal material, if available, to the RVO and to have a Veterinary Practitioner submit a blood sample from the animal that aborted to DAFMs blood testing laboratory in Cork.

Precautions against Brucellosis infection in cattle

  • If importing replacement or additional females or bulls:
    • ensure that they come from a reliable source and if not from an Officially Brucellosis Free Country that they have had the necessary pre-import tests. 
    • isolate such imported animals from other females and bulls.
    • any pregnant imported animals should be isolated pending completion of a post calving test;

Testing Arrangements

Following achievement of officially Brucellosis free status on the whole island of Ireland there is now no compulsory routine on farm testing for the disease. The disease will continue to be compulsorily notifiable and the Department will continue with appropriate monitoring measures for Brucellosis, such as testing culled cows at slaughter plants, aborted foetuses sent to Regional Veterinary Laboratories and post-abortion blood samples at no cost to farmers as part of its commitment to animal health surveillance in support of the livestock industry. 

The Department reserves the right to request any animal to be presented for test where deemed appropriate on veterinary grounds.

If you have concerns that Brucellosis may be present in your herd please contact your local Regional Veterinary Office (RVO) immediately.

November 2015