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January 1939


Arch Ophthalmol. 1939;21(1):51-67. doi:10.1001/archopht.1939.00860010067006

The following brief historical account of Malta fever (undulant fever, brucellosis) is given in a paper by Baltzan:1

An epidemic form of fever in man had long existed in the Mediterranean area and was especially noticed in the island of Malta. It was first described by Marston in 1861 and called "Mediterranean fever." But it was not until 1886 that Sir David Bruce proved the etiological factor, which he called Micrococcus melitensis. In honor of Bruce other organisms belonging to this group have been given the generic name of Brucella. Twenty years later it was recognized that the goat was the host, and that in herds this organism was the cause of abortion. In the human being the disease was variously termed Mediterranean, Gibraltar, Malta, undulating, and undulant fever. It was reported in America as early as 1897 and since epidemics were restricted to regions where goats were largely

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