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Avatar universal

Human Brucella

I'm 42 years old and an Army Veteran. While in the Army (1992-1996) I was in a specialized unit that responded to previously desposed of biological and chemical warfare materials. Well of course I'm very sick now. But, there is a specific event and time that the symptoms started to happen without any clear diagnosis or cause.
Background on the event:
In November of 1995 our unit responded to suspected biological bombs at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. As part of the response team my job was to open the bombs and place the material in 55 gal drums of household strength bleach. As we placed the items in bleach the substance would come out. Which was like a gel. We did have protective clothing on but was not totally encapsulated. So, we did have liquid and the materials contact our skin.
The material was sent to Fort Detrick for testing and confirmed to be Brucella Suis.
I'm pretty sure what I have. But, could blood test still confirm this is in my body after 19 years?
3 Responses
1415174 tn?1453243103
Have you been checked for diabetes? The anion gap being "all over the place" and the wound that doesn't heal could be due to that or of course other things. Where is your pain? Is it in the joints? Do you have any fever now or recurrent fever? Reactive arthritis can be caused by an infection in the joints. It wouldn't necessarily show up as arthritis rather as an infection. So they might have to aspirate an area to see if it has bacteria in it in order to find out.

You seem to have some neurologic problems too. But parathesia can be caused by diabetes as well as medications.

What type of male reproductive track issues? Were your blood chemistries (electrolytes off too i.e. the sodium, potassium. chloride and CO2)?  

I'm glad you are going to Johns Hopkins. It is a great place. I have been there once and was very impressed.

high bilirubin can be high in liver problems but also hemolytic anemia. Did you have a Complete blood count? Was it normal?
1415174 tn?1453243103
We are not doctors on here but I am a microbiologist and can certainly try to advice and help.

Yes they could do a blood culture. Usually, you would have to have the doctor ask them to order the blood culture with a specific request to culture for Brucella because they have to hold the culture much longer than usual and the lab won't do that unless it is ordered that way. They can also look at the blood for antibodies to see if you have been exposed.

Other tests would be Xray for changes in the bones, CT scan and echocardiogram to check if you have damage to the heart. Also, spinal fluid for meningitis. If you had it in the blood or spinal fluid you would have a high fever or recurring fevers in the blood. But it has been a long time to carry it unless it is in the tissues like the heart valves or something.

Have you been to an infectious disease specialist yet?


What are your symptoms?
Avatar universal
First, thanks for your response. I'm scheduling an appointment at Johns Hopkins Infectious Disease. You just have to gather all medicals and fax them before you schedule an appointment and I'm in the process of doing that now. It started with joint pain, fatigue, and anemia. They thought it might be arthritis but tests kept coming back negative. That was in 1997. I kind of gave up and just thought the injuries that incurred while in service was the cause of all this pain, anxiety, depression,  parathesia, fatigue that I was having and would just have to live with it. But I was at the primary dr two weeks ago (Jan 03 2015) and he then thought I might have ms one week and then went to an orthopedic the follow week and told him I never had an injury heal and he almost immediately said autoimmune disorder. Took all standard test and the all come back neg. bilirubin however is all over the place mostly high. Rheumatoid Factor <20, ANA neg. Just looking at bloodworm I see Anion Gap went from 4 to 16 over a 2 day period. Not sure what that was about... Male reproductive track issues.

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