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Objectives: Brucellosis is a highly contagious zoonotic disease which can have serious health implications for affected humans and livestock. This study aimed to evaluate the clinical presentation, geographical distribution and risk factors of brucellosis cases admitted over a four-year period to two hospitals in Muscat, Oman. Methods: This observational study was conducted from January 2015 to December 2018 at the Sultan Qaboos University Hospital and Armed Forces Hospital in Muscat. All patients with probable or definitive diagnoses of brucellosis according to the diagnostic criteria of the World Health Organization were included. Relevant data were gathered from the patients’ medical records, including results from standard agglutination tests, Brucella enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, bacterial blood or tissue/aspirate cultures and Brucella polymerase chain reaction tests. Results: A total of 64 patients were diagnosed with brucellosis over the study period. The median age was 31.5 years and 73.4% were male. The majority (95.2%) presented with fever, followed by weight loss (51%), transaminitis (48.4%), peripheral arthritis/arthralgia (15.9%) and back pain (spondylodiscitis/sacroiliitis; 23.4%). Overall, 75.5% reported having consumed raw dairy products, while only 25.9% gave a positive history of animal contact. Conclusion: Patients with brucellosis presented with a wide range of clinical features, the most predominant of which was fever. The majority of patients were residents of or had recently visited Salalah and had consumed raw dairy products. These findings highlight the need for healthcare practitioners to maintain a high index of suspicion for this diagnosis. Moreover, further regulatory measures are necessary to oversee the sale of raw/unpasteurised dairy products.
Keywords: Brucellosis; Bacterial Infections; Zoonotic Bacterial Infections; Risk Factors; Epidemiology; Oman.
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