Volume 93, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



We report the largest outbreak of brucellosis in Penang, Malaysia. Brucellosis is not endemic in this region. The index case was a 45-year-old goat farm owner presented with 3 weeks of fever, headache, severe lethargy, poor appetite, and excessive sweating. He claimed to have consumed unpasteurized goat's milk that he had also sold to the public. Tests were negative for tropical diseases (i.e., dengue fever, malaria, leptospirosis and scrub typhus) and blood culture showed no growth. Based on epidemiological clues, serology was ordered and returned positive. Over a period of 1 year, 79 patients who had consumed milk bought from the same farm were diagnosed with brucellosis. Two of these patients were workers on the farm. Four laboratory staff had also contracted the disease presumably through handling of the blood samples. The mean duration from onset of symptoms to diagnosis was 53 days with a maximum duration of 210 days. A combination treatment of rifampin and doxycycline for 6 weeks was the first line of treatment in 90.5% of patients. One-third of the patients had sequelae after recovering and 21% had a relapse. We highlight the importance of Brucellosis as a differential diagnosis when a patient has unexplained chronic fever.


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  • Received : 28 Mar 2015
  • Accepted : 30 Apr 2015
  • Published online : 02 Sep 2015
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