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Article
November 12, 1932

UNDULANT (MALTA) FEVER SPONDYLITISREPORT OF A CASE, DUE TO BRUCELLA MELITENSIS, BOVINE VARIETY, SURGICALLY TREATED

Author Affiliations

IOWA CITY

From the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, service of Dr. Arthur Steindler, State University of Iowa College of Medicine, Children's Hospital.

JAMA. 1932;99(20):1656-1659. doi:10.1001/jama.1932.02740720010003

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Abstract

Our object in this paper is to report a case of undulant fever spondylitis that was surgically treated and to review briefly the general aspects of this disease. This is the first proved case to be reported of Brucella melitensis involvement of the human spine.

Undulant fever is a general infection caused by one of the subspecies of Brucella melitensis. The natural habitat of these organisms is in the domestic animals, in which there is a widespread distribution. For man, the principal contact sources are cattle, goats, sheep and swine. The disease is characterized, in certain animals, by slight and often unrecognizable constitutional symptoms; in the female, by a tendency to repeated abortions, followed often by a carrier state, through chronic infection of the udder with excretion of bacteria in the milk.

Undulant fever in man and infectious abortion in animals remained unrelated until Evans indicated in 1918 the close

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