Interactions of the human pathogenic Brucella species with their hosts.


Brucellosis is a zoonotic infection caused primarily by the bacterial pathogens Brucella melitensis and B. abortus. It is acquired by consumption of unpasteurized dairy products or by contact with infected animals. Globally, it is one of the most widespread zoonoses, with 500,000 new cases reported each year. In endemic areas, Brucella infections represent a serious public health problem that results in significant morbidity and economic losses. An important feature of the disease is persistent bacterial colonization of the reticuloendothelial system. In this review we discuss recent insights into mechanisms of intracellular survival and immune evasion that contribute to systemic persistence by the pathogenic Brucella species.