Brucella melitensis Gram-stain that causes
zoonotic disease
This section provides information on one of the nine zoonotic diseases which have been identified by a experts in a national consultation organised by RCZI in June, 2008  as focus or priority diseases for the next five years.

Brucellosis, a bacterial disease caused by members of the genus Brucella, is an important zoonosis and a significant cause of reproductive losses in animals.

Brucella species are associated with a high morbidity rate in naïve herds, and a much lower morbidity rate in chronically infected herds. In naive cattle, B. abortus spreads rapidly, and 30% to 80% of the herd may abort. In herds where this organism has become endemic, only sporadic symptoms occur and cows may abort their first pregnancies. A similar pattern is seen with B. melitensis-infected sheep and goats and B. suis infected pigs. Fertility can be permanently impaired after infection with some species of Brucella. The main impact is (thus) economic; deaths are rare except in the fetus and neonate.

Also called undulant fever, or Maltese fever, Brucellosis is a highly contagious zoonosis for humans caused by ingestion of unsterilised milk or meat from infected animals, or close contact with their secretions. Brucellosis is usually an occupational disease; most cases occur in abattoir workers, veterinarians, hunters, farmers, reindeer/caribou herders and livestock producers. Brucellosis is also one of the most easily acquired laboratory infections.

Global Situation

  • World Health Organization
  • Pappas G, Papadimitriou P, Akritidis N, et al. The new global map of human brucellosis. Lancet Infect Dis. 2006;6(2):91–9

Public Health Measures

Recent Publications and Reviews

Confirmed and Suspected Outbreaks of Brucellosis

General Information