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Yonsei Med J. 2003 Feb;44(1):33-44.

Complications of brucellosis in different age groups: a study of 283 cases in southeastern Anatolia of Turkey.

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Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Dicle University Medical Faculty, Diyarbakir, Turkey.


We carried out a retrospective analysis of 283 patients diagnosed with brucellosis in our hospital, which serves almost 5.5 million inhabitants in Southeastern Anatolia in Turkey. Our study focuses on the frequency of complications in cases with brucellosis across different age groups. Patients were classified into three groups according to age: less than 15 years old (group A), 15-45 years old (group B) and over 45 years old (group C). Of 283 patients, 138 (49%) were female and 145 (51%) male. Fifty-three (19%) were younger than 15 years old (group A), 178 (63%) were 15-45 (group B), and 52 (18%) were over 45 (group C). When the distribution of all cases was examined according to months of the year, an increase was seen in June. Osteoarticular complications were the most frequent, found in 195 (69%) cases, followed by cutaneous (17%), genitourinary (8%), nervous (7%), respiratory (5%) and hematological (4%) complications. Treatment failed in 15 patients (5%), owing to true relapse in ten and to non-compliance and drug side effects in the other five. Two hundred seventy-two patients received medical treatment alone and 11 required medical and surgical treatment as well (9 spondylitis and 2 carditis). Complications in brucellosis were frequent because 25% of all patients with brucellosis had more than one complication, more so in group C (38%) than in group A (28%) or B (20%). Cutaneous, hematological and respiratory complications in childhood; osteoarticular and cardiac complications in adults; and genitourinary, neurological and gastrointestinal complications in middle aged were more prominent. In conclusion, the frequency of brucella complications was variable in different age groups in Southeastern Anatolia of Turkey. Since brucellosis is a preventable disease, knowledge and early diagnosis of the complications are especially important. Therefore, population education and medical precautions are necessary to prevent the harmful effects of brucella and its complications. In addition, primary health care physicians should be alerted regarding the clinical and laboratory findings of brucella complications.

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