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by McCoy K

(Undulant Fever; Bang’s Disease; Malta Fever)



Symptoms of brucellosis usually appear within two weeks of infection. Symptoms can appear from five 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 two days to two weeks. Then, the fever returns. In some patients, 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:
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal pain
  • Headache
  • Backache
  • Joint pain
  • Weakness
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
Patients usually recover within 2 to 5 weeks. Rarely, complications can develop. These may include:
  • Abscesses within the liver or spleen
  • Enlargement of the liver, spleen, or lymph nodes
  • Inflammation and infection of organs in the body, such as:
    • Heart—endocarditis
    • Brain and brain lining—meningitis
    • Bones—osteomyelitis, especially the spine
    • Lungs—bronchitis and pneumonia
    • Eyes—uveitis, choroiditis, and papilledema
  • Scrotal swelling
Bacterial endocarditis, aortic valve
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Brucellosis is also believed to cause a high rate of miscarriage during early pregnancy in infected women.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

United States Department of Agriculture



Health Canada

Public Health Agency of Canada



Brucellosis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: Updated November 12, 2012. Accessed August 6, 2013.

Brucellosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated January 30, 2013. Accessed August 6, 2013.

Patel PJ, Kolawole TM, et al. Sonographic findings in scrotal brucellosis. J Clin Ultrasound. 1988;16:483-486.


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