Warning on Malta Fever

Warning on Malta FeverWarning on Malta Fever

Prevalence of brucellosis (also known as Malta fever) increased by 50% between 2011- 2013, reaching 19,000 cases.

It is estimated that the cases will exceed 20,000 this year, said director of Zoonoses Department at the health ministry, reports IRNA. Zoonoses are infectious diseases of animals (usually vertebrates), that can naturally be transmitted to humans.

Brucellosis is a highly contagious zoonosis disease caused by consumption of unpasteurized milk or undercooked meat from infected animals or close contact with their secretions. Its treatment is a time consuming and devastating process causing overwhelming disabilities in the infected.

According to Dr. Mohammadreza Shirzadi, “on the one hand, brucellosis has not been eradicated in livestock, and on the other, people seem to be keener on consuming unpasteurized dairy products in bulk.”  He further emphasized that as the health ministry does not oversee unpasteurized products, “the people must avoid their consumption, because most of the bulk dairy products are those that have been rejected and returned to the factories due to high levels of contaminants.”

Nearly 25% of brucellosis prevalence occurs in cities due to bulk dairy consumption, while the 70% occurring in villages is the result of direct contact with infected livestock.  The health ministry organizes education sessions in rural areas and villages where they instruct people on precautionary measures such as boiling milk for 5 minutes.