BRUCELLA, HERXING AND HOPE

The bacteria are called “Brucella.” The illness caused by those pesky bacteria is called “Brucellosis.” I have just completed week three of my Brucellosis treatment. Time files when you’re having fun (read with sarcasm). I have been uncertain how to effectively address this topic as there is not much info regarding Brucellosis in the Unites States. After all, this bacterial infection has supposedly been eradicated from much of the U.S., but somehow, I now find myself being treated for it. I know others that have tested positive for this infection. Perhaps it is not so rare after all.

 How is Brucella transmitted?

First, Brucella can most commonly be acquired by humans through the consumption of infected meat and dairy products. This infection is not limited exclusively to cows. Deer, chicken, bison and other animals can be carriers of this infection as well.

Almost makes me want to become a vegetarian. Bleh!

Second, the bacteria can also be transmitted when human skin wounds come in contact with tissues, secretions or excretions of infected animals.

Isn’t that a lovely thought. Yikes!

Third, if any of those infectious materials I spoke of in the previous two paragraphs become aerosolized (like a mist of spray coming out of a can), Brucella can also be inhaled.

That’s a little scary.

Lastly, it can be acquired through the bite of an infected tick and like all tick borne infections, if not caught and treated early, it can lead to a whole array of chronic problems.

What symptoms might someone who has been infected with Brucella display?

Some of the symptoms associated with an infection of the Brucella bacteria include weight loss, abdominal pain, joint and back pain, insomnia, depression, constipation and fatigue. Since these symptoms can often be indicative of other illnesses, the level of difficulty to accurately diagnose this infection is quite high.

How can Brucella be detected?

Brucella can be detected in a traditional manor by using a Brucella Antibody IGG/IGM screen. If the Brucella Antibody Screen is positive or equivocal, a Brucella Antibody with bacterial agglutination is done for confirmation. Brucella was detected in my friend using these tests.

Alternatively, Brucella was detected in me using the FDA approved device the Zyto Scan. I will eventually do a post on the Zyto Scan in greater detail, but suffice it to say I was initially a huge skeptic about the concept of biocommunication between my body and a computer. My Nurse Practitoner, along with one of the country’s leading Zyto Scan practitioners and I teamed up on a phone call to do a remote scan. The results were unbelievably accurate. Symptoms I had told doctors about, symptoms I hadn’t even mentioned yet and even previous blood work ALL showed up on my scan. In addition to confirming the areas I knew were problematic, the Zyto Scan also revealed a serious Brucella infection. My Nurse Practitioner compared my scan results to my clinical presentation and conferenced about my case with a leading physician in the treatment of tick borne diseases. She concurred that Brucella is one of the underlying co-infections that I am in fact battling.

Where might I have acquired this infection?

That is an excellent question.

I have not spent much time on farms or near farm animals in the United States, so that seems improbable. I am not a big meat eater and I do not enjoy cooking, so even more unlikely is the chance that an open wound I might have had came in contact with tissues or bodily fluids of an infected animal. What is however more realistic, is that I obtained this infection through one of two ways–a tick bite (and we already know I have had at least one of those suckers) OR from my summer spent in the Dominican Republic years ago where farm animals openly roam the streets and Brucellosis is more prevalent. Whichever the case may be, this is a question that will never have an answer.

How is Brucellosis treated?

Most people with Brucellosis will recover in 2 to 3 weeks even without treatment. In cases like myself where the illness has become chronic, Brucellosis is typically treated with a combination of two antibiotics for two or more months. For my situation, the combination we are using is 600mg of Rifampin once per day and 100mg of Doxycycline twice per day. These medications have to be taken at specific times so as not to interact with one another. Sadly, relapses are common.

My Treatment Protocol

Below, I have included my new treatment protocol. I have my alarm set to go off multiple times per day to remind me of when to take the lengthy list of medications, herbs and supplements.

Medication Schedule

8:30: Nature-Throid and homeopathic adrenal supplement
9:00: 600mg of Rifampin
10:00: Eat breakfast and take:
200mg of Hydroxychloroquine
B12
Methylfolate
B6
D-ribose
Brain/Nerve Cleanse if needed
Lymph drops
Vaccine Detox Drops
Vitamin C
Interfase Plus (for biofilms)
Glutamine
Ginko Biloba

12:30: 100mg of Doxycycline
2:10: Take Samento
2:30: Eat lunch and take:
Vitamin C
Vitamin D
K2
D-Ribose
Probiotic
Sacc B
Glutamine
Ginko Biloba
Lymph Drainage
Vaccine Detox
Homeopathic Adrenals

6:10: 30 drops of Samento
6:30: Eat Dinner and take:
Lymph Drops
100mg of Diflucan

9:00: 100 mg of Doxycycline
9:30-11:00: Bedtime
Querectin
1 Drop of Ashwaganda
Clonazepam
Soma
5-htp
GABA
Melatonin
Magnesium Glycinate

This phase of treatment has not been easy. About two weeks ago, I began to be hit quite hard with the dreaded “herx” reaction, where there is an exacerbation of symptoms as the bacteria begin to die-off. I have tried to continue with my usual detox protocol in an attempt to combat those symptoms (light exercise, detox baths, infrared sauna, etc.), but I am once again finding myself feeling very depleted. After having spent most of 2012 and 2013 being bedridden, depletion is a scary place for me to be. I am going to resume a more consistent acupuncture schedule as that has proven to be an extremely beneficial adjunct to my treatment. I will also try my best to remain hopeful and optimistic that this too can be conquered and continue to carry with me the belief that better days are yet to come.

jenny-alley-07-27-2014-00307

Although the past three weeks have been difficult, there is still the potential that this could be a positive turning point for me in my healing from Lyme Disease and it’s co-infections.

Are you battling Brucella? I would love to hear from you! As always, please feel free to leave me a comment.

 

20 thoughts on “BRUCELLA, HERXING AND HOPE

  1. Jenny, your bravery and positive attitude are inspiring to me and I am sure to others. Keep up your perseverance on this road to recovery and with the love and support from those around you, especially Tom, success can be close at hand! I will continue to pray for ease for you and a speedy recovery!
    ~MaryAnn

    • THANK YOU MaryAnn! I really appreciate your prayers as I am sure they have helped me to get through some tough times. Your support means so much to me. You are as sweet as they come!

  2. Oh wow, I just read about this one in Horowitz’s book! So sorry you have to deal with it. My doctor is still figuring out which ones I have … I’m sure all my coinfections will show up as I progress through treatment. Blegh. Good luck. It’s so funny … in that picture you look so much like a friend of mine I did a double take. I thought this coninfection was relatively rare – am I wrong? I will probably be that weirdo patient with tularemia or something like that. I love acupuncture also and have to get it frequently. I was bedridden, homebound, and misdiagnosed many times from 2009-2012, and didn’t start treatment till late 2013, so I know that scary feeling about going back to that space … Ugh.

    • I have been told I have many dopplegängers throughout the world. Maybe your friend is another one of them! Our stories span almost the exact same time frame. So crazy. Yes, Brucella is supposed to be rare, but I know others that have been diagnosed with it as well. I am guessing it’s just not as rare as everyone thinks. I bet we will be hearing more about it in the future. We will see how this treatment goes. Hoping it’s a turning point. Yes, different co-infections definitely seem to pop up as treatment progresses. Loads of fun! I doubt you have tularemia, lol. Keep me posted on what you find out along the way. xx

  3. Jenny, I’m sending warmest thoughts and prayers. You do such an amazing job and you carry on despite all the difficulties. You are stronger then you think you are. I admire your perseverance. I really hope you will feel better very soon! Hugs to you and Tom, Anna

  4. I was just diagnosed with Brucella and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, scary stuff. I’ve also had activated EBV since last winter. Any info/help with the brucella would be appreciated :)

    • I took a combo of Doxy and Rifampin based on Horowitz’s protocol for Brucella. I still have immense fatigue issues, so I will have to retest and see if it’s still active. It did not show up on the last Zyto scan I had though.

      • I am so relieved to see I’m not alone!!! I discovered my brucellosis just a few weeks ago! Im taking dozy/rifampin and it has helped immensely with my back pain ( it was beyond dibilitating) also, I know the symptoms are usually weight loss, but I experienced a 50lbs plus weight GAIN throughout all of this (I have Lyme and coinfections as well). I wonder how rare it is if it’s truly just around 100-112 cases per year here in the US. Any advice on this is welcome! I hope everyone is recovering, this infection is awful! I’ve been reading conflicting literature on how people get it- through tick bites and/or infected meat/dairy.

        • Hi Alex,
          Thanks so much for your comment. I am not sure how “rare” brucellosis actually is, as I currently know several people who are in the process of treating it. Like all tick-borne infections, I believe brucella is horribly misdiagnosed and grossly underreported. I have no idea how I contracted mine, although working in the Dominican Republic many years ago may have contributed to it. I wish you continued healing!

  5. I was diagnosed with brucella postive titter 1:80 Igg.i had night sweats,joint pain ,(Shoulder,back,legs) lost 4kgs in week,insomia .After culture report doctor prescribed
    Doxy 100 mg-twice(morning/evening)
    Rifampcin-450 mg-twice(morning/evening). After three weeks antibiotic therapy given another blood culture and its negative . Doctor told stop all Medications. Now i am getting thyriod pain ,stomach pain,fatigue,red eyes,clay color stool.Are these antibiotic side effects ,so much confused.Any info/help with this issue would be appreciated.

    • I would suggest reading Dr. Horowitz’s book, Why Can’t I get better. He has a protocol on treating Brucella, which is what I used to treat mine. With that being said, perhaps Brucella is not your only infection and reading the book might give you some other ideas to help discuss with your doctor. Best of luck to you! I know these are tricky waters to navigate through.

  6. Hey Friends. I am happy and sad to see others suffering from this horrible infection as well as me. I have been feeling so alone. I find solace in my research that I am doing daily to find and remedy all the facets of this horrible illness. Like Jenny and many of you I’m sure, I take a lot of supplements and supports meds. I found this out after I got Lyme and was completely disabled, with extreme pain, insomnia, brain fog and neurological problems, nerve pain and tingling, and horrible hormonal inbalances like insulin resistance and electrolytes imbalances. I found a doctor to treat and rid my body of Lyme after 4.5 mths of Rocephin (with oral Azithromycin (for coinfection) and Metronidazole for Lyme cysts and Mycoplasma infection. Those Lyme symptoms were gone, but I was still sick with night sweats, fever, chills, back pain and pain, metabolic problems, weight gain, electrolyte imbalance, muscle pain, and spasticity in my skeletal muscles and legs. I knew it was the co-infection, but which one. In my research, I had found that back pain out of proportion with injury, high cortisol (was tested while I had Lyme to try and help get better), night sweats, swelling, headaches, blood sugar imbalance, and febile illness was Brucella. I immediately told my doctor and he added Rifampin and my back pain disappered overnight along with the muscle pain, fever, and night sweats. I got off the IV and have been doing Azithomycin and Rifampin with a half of a Metronidazole for a year and a half. The Herx was horrible from day 1 and my hormones are so out of whack from the Rifampin. I had to get on Victoza for the insulin resistance, high doses of Progesterone to control the High Estrogen and particularly control the High Cortisol and Progesterone deficiency, and Spironolactone for the mineral and potassium flushing/deficiency and too much swelling caused by the salt and water. I was wondering why the Herx and reaction was so bad for me. Then I tested Positive for Bartonella quintana (sensitive test from Galaxy labs) which explains the extreme herx, weight gain, swelling, insulin resistance, and electrolyte imbalances, and spasms I am still getting. I am doing much better treating the herx/reaction from the Rifampin and the Infection by taking those meds. I fell really good for about 5 hours of the day (in between meds) and I can sleep peacefully without meds. Does anyone have any of this? By the way, I take a ton of supplements and probiotics daily to replace all that is lost from the infection and the nutrient flushing from the high cortisol, especially potassium gluconate, magnesium, glycinate, carnitine, b-12. b-6, folic acid, Vit D, C, iron, a multi-vitamin called Vitamin V with chelated minerals and more. 1 magic supplement that is helping with the herx and most of the reaction is Glutathione. I take a pattened version called setria l-glutathione. It’s the only one that works, 6-7 pills in the morning 1 hr after rifampin and 5 at night after Rifampin. I hope some of this helps any of you. And I interesting to know if anyone is cured yet from Brucella or are you still fighting? And anything else you want to share. It makes a difference. I am so much better, but still fighting.

    • I am so sorry to read about all the challenges you’ve faced. THANK YOU so much for taking the time to write your journey and what’s helped you. I believe others will find your message helpful as well. I certainly will be checking into some of these things you mentioned.

      Jenny

  7. Hello there. Found your article pop up in Google while researching brucellosis which I tested positive for. I live in PGH PA. Just finished 6 mos of doxy/rifampin and Bactrim. Hoping I beat it once and for all. Can’t imagine going back to what I was. I wanted to die. Would love to talk to you.

    • Hi Leigh,
      I just wrote an update about this a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to tell much of a difference with my Brucella treatment. I have taken slow steps forward, but I am not always able to tell what the specific treatment is that has helped me. I too hope you have kick this thing once and for all. All of these infections are challenging to deal with.

      -Jenny

  8. I’m so glad I stumbled across your page. I was diagnosed with brucellosis six years ago and on a similar rifampin/doxy plan for a few months. Since then I have had many strange inflections: keratitis, weird skin rashes, awful ulcers (vaginal and oral apthous) that were treated with prednisone and come back once a year or so, candida, bv, and whatever I have now (2 weeks of severe head pain, pressure, aches, weakness, brain fog, and arthritic feelings in my hands). My CT scan and MRI were fine (just had them) and I’m going to a neurologist soon.

    I am wondering what other co infections have you had with the lyme and brucellosis. What appeared first?

    • Hi Alyssa,

      Thanks for leaving a comment, and I am very sorry to read about all that you are going through. Long before brucellosis, I treated Bartonella, protozoa, parasites, and now babesia. It’s been a very long road trying to sort all of this out, but I believe it is slowly helping. Treating co-infections is a huge part of this chronic illness mystery.

      -Jenny

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