This publication attempts to portray in some chronological order the progress made in the study of this worldwide disease of animals, that also affects humans, covering a period of over 150 years.
In the words of Kennedy one of the members of the Mediterranean Fever Commission, “The History of Malta Fever (the original name of Brucellosis) is practically the history of its study in the Mediterranean and more especially in Malta.” The more important studies and decisive discoveries of this worldwide zoonosis were in actual fact made in Malta during a fifty-year period from 1860 to 1910. In 1863 the first clear description and identification of the disease, Malta Fever, was made by Marston. In 1887, the microbial cause of the disease, the Micrococcus melitensis, was discovered by Bruce in collaboration with Caruana Scicluna; In 1905, Zammit finally discovered the method of spread of the disease in the goat, the ubiquitous domestic animal of Malta, the Mediterranean, the Middle Eastern region and elsewhere.
The contents of this book are very interesting from a historical and humanistic point of view. The author has used some of the actual papers and documents and his experiences to outline the account of these discoveries, and later, the many problems and difficulties encountered by the civil public health administration. The civil authorities had to contend with prejudice, indifference and obstruction in their efforts to control the disease during the period before the Second World War and the immediate post war period. Finally, in very recent times, an actual epidemic in 1995 brought all concerned to their senses in resulting in more cooperation from everyone leading to the actual elimination of the disease from the Maltese Islands.
The vast experience accumulated over this period in Malta, and the many problems that have been encountered, in efforts to eradicate the disease in Malta should be of great interest to other workers concerned with the brucellosis problem in their countries.