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September 1, 1934


Author Affiliations

Senior Bacteriologist, National Institute of Health, United States Public Health Service WASHINGTON, D. C.

JAMA. 1934;103(9):665-667. doi:10.1001/jama.1934.02750350029008

Brucellosis is the most recent, and it appears to be the most satisfactory, name applied to Brucella infections. "What's in a name?" As it will be pointed out later, names have been very important in shaping the history of this disease.

Hughes,1 who in 1896 gave the name "undulant fever," understood the importance of the name. He published in the Lancet an entire article on the subject of an appropriate name for this disease. He covered almost half a column with the enumeration of the many names which down to that time had been applied to the disease in various languages. Since he wrote that article still more names have been applied. Mediterranean fever, Malta fever and undulant fever have been the most commonly used.

The only amusing incidents that I know to have been associated with the dreary disease have been connected with the name. According to a

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