Investigation of a clinical case of Brucella infection, in which the cause initially indicated Bordetella bronchiseptica, using automated identification techniques prompted a retrospective analysis of previously published cases of B. bronchiseptica infections in China and elsewhere. B. bronchiseptica infection is rarely found in humans, but more frequently in animals. Automated microbial identification systems may confuse B. bronchiseptica with Brucella sp. Brucella by contrast causes a notifiable communicable zoonotic disease. We summarize here the pathogenesis, epidemiology, clinical symptoms and microbiological identification of B. bronchiseptica infection in humans.