Neapolitan fever is a serious infectious disease. Neapolitan fever results from one of four different species of bacteria that are a part of the genus Brucella.
Neapolitan fever may be local. If it is, it affects only a certain part of your body. However, Neapolitan fever can be extremely dangerous because it can have serious widespread complications that involve different organ systems in your body. This may include your central nervous system.
Neapolitan fever is usually a short-term (acute) disease. However, it may also be long-term (chronic) with long lasting complications.
Neapolitan fever is referred to in several other ways. It is also known as Maltese fever, brucellosis, undulant fever, Mediterranean fever, Bang’s disease, Crimean fever, Cyprus fever, Gibraltar fever, brucellemia, goat fever, rock fever, brucelliasis and melitococcosis.
Neapolitan fever is a disease that afflicts hundreds of thousands of animals and people every year in Mediterranean countries and other parts of the world. Neapolitan fever is not common in the United States. Somewhere around 100 to 200 cases of this disease are reported each year in the United States.
How Neapolitan Fever spreads
Neapolitan fever is a disease that involves many different wild and domestic animals. There are at least six strains of bacteria that lead to this disease in animals, but not all of these strains result in Neapolitan fever in humans. Neapolitan fever spreads from animals to people in three different ways. They are:
- Eating raw dairy products that come from infected animals or eating raw or undercooked meat that comes from an infected animal
- Inhaling the brucella bacteria in the air
- Direct contact with infected animals by way of a wound or cut that you have on your body.
The signs and symptoms of Neapolitan fever
It may begin anywhere from a matter of days to a few months after you have been infected with the brucella bacteria. There are several different signs and symptoms that you may experience, which may be an indication of Neapolitan fever. Some of these may include:
- An undulating fever ( a fever that keeps rising and falling)
- Joint, muscle and back pain.
The signs and symptoms that you have with Neapolitan fever may go away for weeks or months. Then they may come back again.
Neapolitan fever signs and symptoms
If you are afflicted with chronic Neapolitan fever, you may experience additional signs and symptoms. Some of these are:
- Chronic fatigue
- Spondylitis (an inflammatory type of arthritis that affects your spine and joints that are near by)
Your doctor will likely do a physical exam, ask about your signs and symptoms and whether you have come in contact with animals, recently, in order to diagnose your Neapolitan fever. Your doctor may also ask you about what you have eaten over the past few weeks and months. Your doctor will probably test your blood or bone marrow for the brucella bacteria or antibodies to the bacteria in order for the diagnosis of Neapolitan fever to be confirmed.
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