Background: With more than 500,000 new cases annually, human brucellosis is the commonest zoonotic disease worldwide. In some endemic countries, its prevalence is more than 10 per 100,000 population.

Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the magnitude of the problem and the clinical features, laboratory findings, treatment given and complications seen in children with brucellosis in Najran City, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 

Methods: This is a case-series study by analysis of data of children known or diagnosed to have brucellosis for the last 4 years in Najran City. Data was obtained by reviewing the hospital records of the Maternity and Children Hospital and Najran Armed Forces Hospital in Najran during the period from 2013 to 2017. The statistical analysis was carried out using SPSS version 16.0. Since it was the first report of brucellosis on the study population, we used descriptive statistics (frequency, proportion, mean, and standard deviation) for presenting the findings.

Results: We studied 57 diagnosed cases of child brucellosis throughout the past 4 years in Najran, south Saudi Arabia with an average number of about 12 cases per year. Of the cases, 15.8% reported a history of ingestion of raw milk and dairy product and only 1.8% of them reported a history of animal contact while 82.4% confirmed unknown mode of transmission. Fever was the only finding in 36.8%, fever and arthralgia 21.1%, and fever and myalgia 19.3%. Two thirds of the cases were diagnosed by standard agglutination test (SAT). Hepatosplenomegaly was found in 10.5%. Rifampicin was the antibiotic of choice and 70.2% of cases have been cured but 3.5% relapsed and 1.8% died from complications. 

Conclusions: Results suggest brucellosis be considered in every child living in an endemic area, showing symptoms of fever and having a history of ingestion of raw milk and dairy product and/or animal contact.

Prevention should rely on health education of the public about different issues of the disease including boiling raw milk.


Keywords: Brucellosis, Najran, Saudi Arabia
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