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Review
. 2014 Nov;51(6):1076-89.
doi: 10.1177/0300985814540545. Epub 2014 Jun 30.

Advancement of Knowledge of Brucella Over the Past 50 Years

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Review

Advancement of Knowledge of Brucella Over the Past 50 Years

S C Olsen et al. Vet Pathol. .

Abstract

Fifty years ago, bacteria in the genus Brucella were known to cause infertility and reproductive losses. At that time, the genus was considered to contain only 3 species: Brucella abortus, Brucella melitensis, and Brucella suis. Since the early 1960s, at least 7 new species have been identified as belonging to the Brucella genus (Brucella canis, Brucella ceti, Brucella inopinata, Brucella microti, Brucella neotomae, Brucella ovis, and Brucella pinnipedialis) with several additional new species under consideration for inclusion. Although molecular studies have found such high homology that some authors have proposed that all Brucella are actually 1 species, the epidemiologic and diagnostic benefits for separating the genus based on phenotypic characteristics are more compelling. Although pathogenic Brucella spp have preferred reservoir hosts, their ability to infect numerous mammalian hosts has been increasingly documented. The maintenance of infection in new reservoir hosts, such as wildlife, has become an issue for both public health and animal health regulatory personnel. Since the 1960s, new information on how Brucella enters host cells and modifies their intracellular environment has been gained. Although the pathogenesis and histologic lesions of B. abortus, B. melitensis, and B. suis in their preferred hosts have not changed, additional knowledge on the pathology of these brucellae in new hosts, or of new species of Brucella in their preferred hosts, has been obtained. To this day, brucellosis remains a significant human zoonosis that is emerging or reemerging in many parts of the world.

Keywords: Brucella; laboratory models; pathogenesis; reservoir hosts; zoonosis.

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