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Revista Costarricense de Ciencias Médicas

Print version ISSN 0253-2948


FREER, Enrique  and  CASTRO-ARCE, Rocío. Brucella: una bacteria virulenta carente de los factores de virulencia clásicos. Rev. costarric. cienc. méd [online]. 2001, vol.22, n.1-2, pp.73-82. ISSN 0253-2948.

Brucellosis is an ancient disease known as Malta fever. Marston clinically described it for the first time in 1859 and its causative agent was isolated in 1887 by Sir David Bruce. Brucellosis is a zoonosis and is world wide distributed being a serious economic and public health problem in certain countries. Members of the genus Brucella are facultative intracelular pathogens, which infect and produce disease in a wide variety of mammals. Ingestion or contact with contaminated materials can infect humans. Although some factors have been implicated in the virulence of Brucella the exactly virulence mechanisms of this intracellular microorganism are not known yet. Brucella does not show aggressive virulence mechanisms such as exotoxins, anti-phagocitic capsules, plasmids, fimbria, flagella or antigenic variation. Even though it is highly pathogenic for preferred or accidental hosts. This paradigm has been discussed by groups who do not accept the absence of common virulent factors and groups that believe that the low in vitro and in vivo biological activities and silent capacity of Brucella to adapt to the intracellular environment is an evolutive virulence factor by itself. This capacity of intracellular adaptation is probably related to the outer membrane characteristic composition.

Keywords : Brucella; virulence factors; brucellosis; outer membrane.

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