Copy of Brucellosis paper - Biotechnology and Society...

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Biotechnology and Society: Biowarfare Seminar Spring '07 Bioagent paper: Brucellosis By Philippe Taieb Introduction Brucellosis is a zoonotic infection, a disease that can be transmitted from animals to humans, and it is caused by Gram-negative facultative intracellular pathogens. Brucellosis has been a biological agent of interest for the last 50 years. (Cutler, p. 1270) It is classified as a category B agent by the CDC. Those are second highest priority agents that are easy to disseminate and have moderate morbidity rates and low fatality rates. (CDC) Nevertheless, defensive measures are being taken to minimize the impact of such a weapon. History Brucellosis is a disease that affects domesticated and wild animals. It is caused by organisms of the genus Brucella . Humans usually contract the disease by ingestion of animal food products, direct contact with sick animals, or inhalation of infectious aerosols. Brucellosis in humans has often been associated with military medicine. In 1751, Cleghorn, a British army surgeon described cases of chronic, relapsing febrile illness while he was stationed on the Mediterranean island of Minorca. Apparently, these descriptions were similar to those made by Hippocrates more than 2000 years ago. But, the most important observations were not made until the late 1800s, by three more British surgeons on the island of Malta. While J. A. Marston, in 1861, described clinical characteristics of his own infection, it was not until 1887 that David Bruce isolated the organism that bears his name from the spleens of 5 patients with fatal cases. Common names of the disease come from both its course (undulant fever) and location (Malta fever, Crimean fever). In 1897, M. L. Hughes, who first called it “undulant fever,” published a paper that detailed clinical and pathological findings in 844 patients. Just
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a few months later, B. Bang, a Danish investigator, identified an organism in placentas of cattle with contagious abortions and hence, called it the “bacillus of abortion”. In 1917, A. C. Evans made the connection between Bang’s organism and Bruce's observations and showed that this agent caused human brucellosis. (Hoover, p. 514) Since, different species of Brucella were identified and named primarily for the source animal or features of infection. 6 species of Brucella have been isolated , of which 4 have moderate-to- significant pathogenicity in humans. Those are Brucella suis (from pigs; high pathogenicity); Brucella melitensis (from sheep; highest pathogenicity); Brucella abortus (from cattle; moderate pathogenicity); and Brucella canis (from dogs; moderate pathogenicity). (Maloney) Brucellosis has been eradicated from several countries in northern Europe; however, many developing countries such as Israel, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and Colombia, are still trying to control this disease of significant economical and zoonotic impact. (Cutler, p. 1270-1271)
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  • Spring '07
  • robinson
  • Biological warfare, Brucellosis, Brucella, Brucella bacteria, Taieb Introduction Brucellosis, Brucella organisms

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