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Malta Fever – Brucellosis

Malta Fever – Brucellosis

Malta Fever is a contagious disease caused by a Gram-Negative Bacteria called Brucella. Malta Fever is also known as Brucellosis, Mediterranean Fever and Undulant Fever.

Cause and Symptoms of Malta Fever or Brucellosis

The Brucellosis is often caused by contact with livestock carrying Brucella. It can also be caused by ingestion of unpasteurized milk or undercooked meat from infected animals or close contract with their secretions.

The symptoms of Brucellosis include headache, muscular pain, fever and fatigue. It is possible that these symptoms subside but it can also become chronic or persistent arthritis, swelling in certain organs as per the United States’ Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A human to human transmission is extremely rare according to CDC.

There are effective treatment for Brucella bacteria. But usage of more than one antibiotic may be needed for several weeks as the bacteria can incubate within the cells.

Types of Brucella Bacteria

There are eight known species of the Brucella Bacteria of which four of them cause Brucellosis in humans. These are as follows.

  • Maltese Brucellosis (B.Melitensis) – Most common one and most severe, found in Lambs
  • Pig Brucellosis (B.Suis) – This variation infects individuals who come in contact with animals which has severe impact on humans
  • Brucella Abortus (B.Abortus) – Infects cows and is moderately severe
  • Canine Brucellosis (B.Canis) – Humans coming in contact with dogs get infected by this. The effect on humans is moderately severe

Brucellosis is recognized in animals and humans since early 20th century.

More reading about Brucellosis

  1. Communicable Diseases
  2. Brucellosis (undulant fever, Malta fever)

Recent News Reports

CNN on 17th September 2020 reported about a Bacterial outbreak infecting thousands after a factory leak. Reports say that several thousand people have tested positive for this bacterial disease. It is an outbreak caused by a leak occurred somewhere between July and late August last year.

The Weather Channel in India also have reported the news about the Malta Fever outbreak on their website on 18th September 2020.

Take Care, Stay Safe and Healthy.

Picture used for illustration only – Credit:

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Born and brought up in Kerala, I did my schooling in Kerala and graduated (B.Sc Physics) from the Calicut University. I have worked with a Swedish Company from 1994 to 2015, as a Senior Project Manager in their Group IT Division in Dubai. This blog is the result of my strong desire to communicate with others, sharing what I know and what I could gather from various sources.


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