Brucellosis, also called Bang's disease, Crimean fever, Gibraltar fever, Malta fever, Maltese fever, Mediterranean fever, rock fever, or undulant fever, is a highly contagious zoonosis caused by ingestion of unsterilized milk or meat from infected animals or close contact with their secretions. Transmission from human to human, through sexual contact or from mother to child, is rare but possible. Brucella spp. are small, Gram-negative, non-motile, non-spore-forming, rod shaped (coccobacilli) bacteria. They function as facultative intracellular parasites causing chronic disease, which usually persists for life. Symptoms include profuse sweating and joint and muscle pain. Brucellosis has been recognized in animals including humans since the 20th century. Under the name Malta fever, the disease now called brucellosis first came to the attention of British medical officers in the 1850s in Malta during the Crimean War.
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