Brucellosis Research Unit



Brucellosis is a disease caused by bacteria of the Brucella genus. It mainly affects cattle, pigs, goats, sheep and dogs. The disease can be transmitted to humans through direct contact with sick animals, through wounds and mucous membranes, or indirect, by ingestion of animal products and by inhalation. In animals the disease induces abortions, reduces fertility and reduces milk production. In humans the disease causes repeated episodes of high fever – Malta fever - and other symptoms like headache, joint pain, fatigue and depression.


Brucellosis is one of the most widespread zoonosis in the world. Every year more than 500,000 new cases appear. Regions with higher risk of transmission are the Mediterranean basin, South and Central America, East Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Control and eradication entails high costs, complex logistics and advanced veterinary and medical infrastructure. The lack of resources in developing countries, where domestic animals are the main source of food, traction and transport, make this disease a cause of important economic losses and human suffering. 


There is vaccine against brucellosis for humans. The treatment combines several antibiotics, but it is long, costly, and difficult to apply in many areas. The best way to control brucellosis is to reduce or eliminate the infection in sick animals. Vaccines exist, but they do not provide absolute immunity, and because the antigens are identical to the virulent strains it is difficult to differentiate between animals that are vaccinated and those infected

Lines of research

Brucella escapes early detection by the immune system because it doesn't have macromolecules with a molecular pattern associated with marked pathogens. In consequence before immune system activation the bacteria has enough time to adapt and reach the interior of certain cells, multiply and generate disease.

Our Work aims:
(1), to mutate selected genes of the mentioned molecules in order to improve the initial immune system recognition
(2), to complement this with a good attenuation, mutating key metabolic pathways for the multiplication of the bacteria in the host
(3), to antigenically label these mutants by the introduction of epitope genes different to Brucella.

In collaboration with the Medicine Faculty of Universidad de Navarra we participate in ICONZ – Africa, an international Project that aims to improve animal health and production in several countries of the African continent.

Research Team


Pueden verse las publicaciones más importantes de los últimos años a través de PubMed


The "Brucellosis" guide offers:

  • Access to articles related to brucellosis.

  • Courses taught by the group: course materials, pictures and reading material.

  • Information and protocols on the diagnosis and treatment of human, bovine, ovine, caprine and swine brucellosis.

  • Access to a form from which you can send your queries on topics related to brucellosis