Five people were hospitalized at Emek Medical Center in Afula and another four were treated and discharged on Monday after being infected with brucellosis bacteria from drinking milk that had not been pasteurized or meat from unvaccinated animals. The patients were treated with antibiotics and given supportive care.

Dr. Bibiana Hazan, who heads the hospital’s infectious diseases unit, said the disease is transmitted to man by sheep, cows and goats that have not been immunized against it. It is also possible that people can been infected by breathing in the bacteria near infected livestock.

Brucellosis causes stomach aches, a fast pulse and joint pains, but it can also lead to complications such as damage to heart valves and serious infection of the joints.

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