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Brucellosis is a bacterial zoonotic disease which has been associated with laboratory-acquired infections. No recent reviews have addressed the characteristics of laboratory-acquired brucellosis (LAB). English-language literature was reviewed to identify reports of laboratory exposures to Brucella spp. and LAB cases between 1982 and 2007. Evaluation of 28 case reports identified 167 potentially exposed laboratory workers, of whom 71 had LAB. Nine reports were identified that summarized an additional 186 cases of LAB. Only 18 (11%) exposures were due to laboratory accidents, 147 (88%) exposures were due to aerosolization of organisms during routine identification activities, and the circumstances of 2 (1%) exposures were unknown. Brucella melitensis was the causative agent in 80% (135/167) of the exposures. Workers with high-risk exposures were 9.3 times more likely to develop LAB than workers with low-risk exposures (95% confidence interval [CI], 3.0 to 38.6; P < 0.0001); they were also 0.009 times likelier to develop LAB if they took antimicrobial PEP than if they did not (95% CI, 0 to 0.042; P < 0.0001). The median incubation period in case and summary reports was 8 weeks (range 1 to 40 weeks). Antimicrobial PEP is effective in preventing LAB. The incubation period may be used to identify appropriate serological and symptom surveillance time frames for exposed laboratory workers.
PMID: 23824774 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]