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Infect Chemother. 2007 Aug;39(4):196-201. Korean. Original Article.
Lee CS , Kwon KS , Baek BK , Park SW , Lee HB .
Department of Internal Medicine, Chonbuk National University Medical School and Research Institute of Clinical Medicine, Chonbuk National University, Jeonju, Korea. lhbmd@chonbuk.ac.kr
Department of Preventive Medicine, Chonbuk National University Medical School and Research Institute of Clinical Medicine, Chonbuk National University, Jeonju, Korea.
Chonbuk National University Medical School and Research Institute of Clinical Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Chonbuk National University, Jeonju, Korea.
Department of Internal Medicine, Dankook University College of Medicine, Chungnam, Korea.
Abstract

BACKGROUND: The first probable case of human brucellosis in Korea was reported in 2002. Since then there has been a gradual increase in the incidence and prevalence of the disease. There has not been any long-term follow-up investigation of the clinical course and serologic profiles of the disease in Korea. The present investigation is a 3 year clinical and serologic follow-up of human brucellosis patients in Chonbuk province. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The investigation involved a total of 11 patients who were positively diagnosed with brucellosis in 2003. Clinical manifestations were evaluated either directly or via telephone interviews. The serologic follow-up was done by standard tube agglutination test (SAT). Negative sero- conversion was defined as an SAT titer less than 1:40. Early convalescence was defined as clinical manifestations of brucellosis observed within 12 months of diagnosis, and delayed convalescence was defined as clinical symptoms persisting longer than 12 months. RESULTS: A total of eleven patients (8 males and 3 females; with a mean age of 45 years) participated in the study. Ten patients were livestock workers and one was a practicing veterinarian. Three years after the initial diagnosis, chronic fatigue and arthralgia were persistently observed in more than 60% of the patients in delayed convalescence. There was no evidence of relapse or reinfection of the disease. The median duration of antibiotics treatment and serologic follow-up were 11 weeks and 22 months, respectively. Negative sero-conversion was noted between 5 and 16 months after the initiation of treatment (with a median 11 months). CONCLUSION: Although the human brucellosis patients developed chronic symptoms such as fatigue and arthralgia even after negative sero-conversion, there was no evidence of any relapse or reinfection. This may mean that antibiotic intervention is not a justifiable recommendation. We also suggest that serologic monitoring be performed for at least 16 months after the initiation of treatment.

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