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Foodborne Outbreak of Human Brucellosis Caused by Ingested Raw Materials of Fetal Calf on Jeju Island

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  • Division of Infectious Disease, Jeju National University School of Medicine, Jeju, South Korea; Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Jeju National University School of Medicine, Jeju, South Korea; Department of Laboratory Medicine, Jeju National University School of Medicine, Jeju, South Korea; Jeju National University School of Medicine, Jeju, South Korea

Since the first reported case of human brucellosis in 2002 in South Korea, its incidence has been increasing nationally. However, bovine brucellosis has not been present from 2005 to date on Jeju Island. Despite Jeju Island being considered a clean area for bovine brucellosis, we experienced an outbreak of human brucellosis between 2012 and 2013. Herein, we report cases with human brucellosis after ingestion of raw materials of fetal calf at a restaurant. Patients were identified by isolation of the Brucella abortus in their blood and joint tissue. Because all patients developed zoonosis by a faulty folk remedy, we emphasize the importance of educational programs to increase the awareness of zoonosis, and the need for active surveillance and detection of illegal distribution channels of the infected animal. After the outbreak, we took control of the involved restaurant and its illegal distribution channel, and there have been no further outbreaks.

Author Notes

* Address correspondence to Sang Taek Heo, Division of Infectious Disease, Jeju National University School of Medicine, 15, Aran 13 gil, Jeju-si, Jeju Special-Governing Province, 690-756, Republic of Korea. E-mail: neosangtaek@naver.com

Financial support: This work was supported by a research grant from the Jeju National University in 2014.

Authors' addresses: Jeong Rae Yoo and Sang Taek Heo, Division of Infectious Disease, Jeju National University School of Medicine, Jeju, Korea, E-mails: mdyoojr@gmail.com and neosangtaek@naver.com. Keun Hwa Lee, Microbiology and Immunology, Jeju National University School of Medicine, Jeju, Korea, E-mail: yomust7@jejunu.ac.kr. Young Ree Kim, Laboratory Medicine, Jeju National University School of Medicine, Jeju, Korea, E-mail: labmed-1@jejunuh.co.kr. Seung Jin Yoo, Jeju National University School of Medicine, Jeju, Korea, E-mail: syoo06@gmail.com.

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