Brucellosis is a zoonosis(1), an infectious disease due to bacteria of the Brucella genus, which can affect most animals - domestic and wild species.
This disease is thought to have existed since ancient times. "Malta fever", "Undulant fever", "Mediterranean fever", "Melitococcosis", "Epizootic Abortion", different names given to the same disease, according to the place, the time and even the species that are concerned.
In animals, the infection may cause abortions in females, epididymo-orchitis in males and, less frequently, arthritis or bursitis in both.
Economic loss may be direct (abortion) or indirect (milk loss and sterility). However, the major economic issue is that French, European or International regulations state that only animals that come from officialy free herds may be used for trade and even for the import of semen, ova and embryos.
Humans generally acquire the disease through direct contact with infected animals, by eating or drinking contaminated animal product. The signs ans symptoms of brucellosis are extensive and they can be similar to many other febrile illnesses. Some individuals may develop long-term chronic symptoms, and may evolve to a chronic illness that may induce serious complications, particularly at osteo-articular level.
Anses Animal Health Laboratory in Maisons-Alfort is the French, European Union, OIE and FAO Reference Laboratory for animal brucellosis.
It gives support to diagnostic laboratories in France as well as in the European Union and at International level through analysis, advice, training, information, as well as through the organization of Inter Laboratory Proficiency Tests, Audits and through the transfer of methods.
It performs reference diagnosis in serology, Brucella isolation, PCR detection, conventional and molecular typing.
It holds an important collection of strains, both field and reference strains, reagents and samples.
It performs official control of Brucellosis diagnostic reagents, as well as of Brucella vaccines (final and seed lots).