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Product title :

Lessons from the history of brucellosis

Author(s) : H.V. Wyatt

Summary :

The disease we now know as brucellosis was first discovered in the 1850s in Malta. It came to the attention of British medical officers serving on the island after the Crimean War. It was easy to eliminate the disease in British servicemen, but very difficult to reach Maltese citizens. Over the decades, more and more Maltese were infected as the control measures introduced were half-hearted and were often not even enforced. The work of Dr Themistocles Zammit showed that infected goats transmitted brucellosis and that banning use of their milk would be effective. Pasteurisation was not introduced onto the island until the 1930s, when the production of cheap, small sterile containers became possible. Transmission was also possible through sexual contact and by inhalation when people were crowded in hot airless conditions. Success in controlling the disease requires sensible, strict control of animals and the elimination of infected ones, but will fail without an educated public willing to help. In Malta, failure to control rogue flocks and small flocks kept for family use led to an epidemic caused by the sale of cheeselets (small cheeses).
Brucellosis – Goats’ milk – Inhalation – Malta – Mediterranean Fever Commission – Pasteurisation – Royal Army Medical Corps – Sexual transmission.

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