SA province on alert for Malta fever

SA province on alert for Malta fever

A game farm outside Beaufort West has been under quarantine for the past few months following a suspected outbreak of Brucella melitensis – known as Malta fever – in the Karoo.

The outbreak was detected after a farmer’s wife fell ill earlier this year, having contracted the disease through an infected goat.

She was treated after displaying symptoms associated with the disease and has since been discharged from hospital.

Brucella melitensis is most commonly spread from an infected animal to humans though the consumption of unpasteurised milk or cheese or through direct contact.

It is one of the most serious diseases among livestock. Infection in animals carries considerable economic damage. The disease causes decreased milk production, weight loss, loss of young, infertility, and lameness.

People infected with Brucella could display symptoms of fever, night sweats, severe headaches and body aches. If left untreated, brucellosis is fatal in five percent of cases.

By late on Monday, authorities in Beaufort West appeared to have been kept in the dark about the outbreak, with only a few in the agricultural fraternity in the province being made aware thereof.

Even the Beaufort West municipality was unaware of the case.

Mayor Truman Prince said he instructed officials to get more information on the outbreak.

“It is very worrisome that such a serious matter that could affect the whole region had been kept secret from the local municipal authorities. I hope indeed that this is not the truth and was not done intentionally,” Prince added. Read more


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