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(Undulant Fever; Bang’s Disease; Malta Fever)
by Krisha McCoy, MS
Brucellosis is a rare bacterial infection that causes fevers that come and go.
Brucellosis is caused by specific bacteria that infect domesticated animals. It can be spread to humans through:
Risk Factors TOP
Factors that increase your risk of getting brucellosis include:
Symptoms of brucellosis usually appear within 2 weeks of infection. Symptoms can appear from 5 days to several months after infection.
In the early stage, symptoms may include:
As it progresses, brucellosis causes a high fever (104° F to 105° F). This fever occurs in the evening along with severe sweating. It becomes normal or near normal in the morning, and usually begins again at night.
This on and off fever usually lasts 1 to 5 weeks. After 5 weeks, symptoms usually improve or disappear for 2 days to 2 weeks. Then, the fever returns. In some people, this fever returns only once. In others, the disease becomes chronic, and the fever returns, lessens, and then returns again over months or years.
In later stages, brucellosis can cause:
Patients usually recover within 2 to 5 weeks. Rarely, complications can develop. These may include:
Brucellosis is also believed to cause a high rate of miscarriage during early pregnancy in infected women.
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Your body fluids may need to be tested. This can be done with:
Pictures may be needed of your body structures. This can be done with:
Many people recover from brucellosis on their own. However, early diagnosis and treatment can reduce the risk of complications and infection. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include:
Your doctor may prescribe one or more antibiotics to control and prevent brucellosis. Antibiotics are given for up to 6 weeks.
Surgery may be needed in people with abscesses or an infection that does not respond to antibiotics.
To help reduce your chances of getting brucellosis:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Department of Agriculture
Public Health Agency of Canada
Brucellosis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated November 12, 2012. Accessed May 31, 2016.
Brucellosis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115233/Brucellosis. Updated April 20, 2016. Accessed May 31, 2016.
Patel PJ, Kolawole TM, Sharma N, a-Faqih S. Sonographic findings in scrotal brucellosis. J Clin Ultrasound. 1988;16(7):483-486.
Last reviewed May 2016 by David Horn, MD
Last Updated: 5/31/2016
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