Human brucellosis: Widespread information deficiency hinders an understanding of global disease frequency. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: For decades, human brucellosis has been recognized worldwide as a significant cause of morbidity, yet the annual incidence of this disease remains unknown. We analyzed this frequency, using international reports (2005-2019), identifying information gaps, and distinguishing a possible path forward. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A novel approach to estimating the incidence of this disease was explored. We utilized annual health data extracted from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE)-World Animal Health Information System (WAHIS) database, assessing the dataset completeness and representativeness of the data for the world population. Additionally, we assessed the reported country level human brucellosis case counts and the factors that influenced the observed changes over time. Our analysis revealed incomplete and unrepresentative information, preventing the estimation of annual human brucellosis case incidence at the global level. In the OIE-WAHIS database, only 48.4% of the required reports have been submitted as of 2019, with approximately 47.3% of the world population represented. Additionally, geographic regions were disproportionate in completeness, representativeness, and actual reported case counts. Africa and Asia constituted the majority of reported cases, while simultaneously submitting the lowest percentage of reports as well as covering the lowest percentage of their populations within those reports, when compared to the rest of the world. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The global annual frequency of human brucellosis cases remains elusive. Furthermore, there exists great heterogeneity in diagnostic, surveillance, and reporting systems worldwide, calling into question the validity of available information. This study reveals that the Neglected Zoonotic Disease priority status for brucellosis should be restored.

published proceedings

  • PLoS Negl Trop Dis

author list (cited authors)

  • Laine, C. G., Scott, H. M., & Arenas-Gamboa, A. M.

citation count

  • 8

complete list of authors

  • Laine, Christopher G||Scott, Harvey M||Arenas-Gamboa, Angela M

editor list (cited editors)

  • Lin, T.

publication date

  • January 2022