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July 1973

Brucellosis: An Unusual Cause of Postoperative Fever

Arch Surg. 1973;107(1):112. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1973.01350190094029

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To the Editor.—Since Bruce first isolated Brucella organisms in 1887,1 brucellosis has been known as a febrile illness occurring primarily from contact with animals. In the following case, clinical brucellosis developed following elective gastric surgery.

Report of a Case  A 49-year-old white man was hospitalized with an acute exacerbation of a chronic peptic ulcer. He underwent vagotomy and antrectomy, requiring transfusion of 2 units of whole blood. On the sixth postoperative day, he began to have daily spikes to around 38.8 C, associated with easy fatigability, diaphoresis, and depression. A thorough search for the source of his fever was unrewarding. On the tenth postoperative day, treatment with tetracycline, 1.0 gm/day, was begun empirically. On the 16th postoperative day, a brucellosis titer of 1:2,560 was discovered and a blood sample for culture drawn that same day was positive for Brucella organisms. He became afebrile shortly thereafter, although he had

Bruce D:  Note on the discovery of a microorganism in Malta fever . Practitioner 39:161, 1887.
Spink WW: The Nature of Brucellosis . Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1956.
Wood EE:  Brucellosis as a hazard of blood transfusion . Br Med J 1:27-28, 1955.Article