Difficulties in the Diagnosis of Chronic Brucellosis

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  • Division of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Health, Washington, D. C.

In this paper emphasis is laid on the diagnosis of the chronic disease because the same difficulties which attend the diagnosis of the acute are magnified in the chronic disease.

On account of the difficulties of diagnosis there were no cases of chronic brucellosis recognized in this country until recent years. At present there are only a few centers where it is recognized. A discussion of it is timely in order to stimulate the growing interest in this chronic disease which probably exists in every rural community, and in every town and city where raw milk is consumed.

Because the clinical picture is vague, chronic brucellosis cases have often been thrown into the clinical scrapheap of neurasthenia. The error of stigmatizing brucellosis patients as neurasthenic adds to physical ills the mental anguish that results from the unsympathetic attitude these patients encounter.