Brucella melitensis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Brucella melitensis
Brucella melitensis.jpg
A photomicrograph of the bacterium Brucella melitensis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Bacteria
Phylum: Proteobacteria
Class: Alphaproteobacteria
Order: Rhizobiales
Family: Brucellaceae
Genus: Brucella
Species: B. melitensis
Binomial name
Brucella melitensis

Brucella neotomae

Brucella melitensis is a Gram-negative coccobacillus bacterium from the Brucellaceae family. The bacterium causes ovine brucellosis, along with Brucella ovis. It can infect sheep, cattle, and sometimes humans, and it can be transmitted by the stable fly. It is zoonotic, unlike B. ovis, causing Malta fever or localized brucellosis in humans.

Brucella melitensis colonies growing on agar

Pathogenesis and disease[edit]

The bacterium causes severe inflammation of the epididymis, with formation of spermatocoeles and fibrinous adhesions. This disease is known as ovine brucellosis, and is a reportable disease in the USA.[1] It can also cause epididymitis in cattle, and reproductive disease such as orchitis, mastitis, and abortions.[citation needed]


In 1887, M. melitensis was isolated in Malta by David Bruce from the spleen of a soldier who had died from acute brucellosis.[2] The mechanism of transmission was not determined until 1905, when Temi Żammit found that apparently healthy goats could infect humans with M. melitensis via their milk.[3]


  1. ^ "Reportable and Foreign Animal Diseases" (PDF). USDA. Retrieved 2017-02-04. 
  2. ^ Galińska, EM; Zagórski, J (2013). "Brucellosis in humans--etiology, diagnostics, clinical forms.". Annals of agricultural and environmental medicine : AAEM. 20 (2): 233–8. PMID 23772567. 
  3. ^ Wyatt, H.V. (2005). "How Themistocles Zammit found Malta Fever (brucellosis) to be transmitted by the milk of goats". Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. 98 (10): 451–454. PMC 1240100Freely accessible. PMID 16199812. doi:10.1258/jrsm.98.10.451. 

External links[edit]