Brucella spp.

Legal Status: Notifiable Organism
Status in New Zealand: Not in New Zealand
Organism: Micro-organism

Other common names: Undulant fever or Malta fever (human cases), Contagious Abortion

Anyone who suspects brucellosis should ring the MAF Exotic Disease and Pest Emergency Hotline 0800 80 99 66 at any time of the day or night.

Most species of Brucella infect specific host species. This is of significance in livestock where infection and subsequent production losses can cause significant economic impact. Most Brucella species can also infect humans causing serious disease with often long-term effects. Some Brucella species can infect wildlife with the potential to be carried in feral populations presenting a risk to farmed livestock.

The following species of Brucella are of significance to New Zealand. New Zealand is free from all of the following except Brucella ovis, which is endemic in New Zealand sheep. Rams are routinely tested for this disease as infected rams are the primary means of spreading the disease.

  • Bovine brucellosis - Brucella abortus
  • Ovine epididymitis - Brucella ovis
  • Ovine and Caprine brucellosis - Brucella melitensis
  • Canine brucellosis - Brucella canis
  • Porcine and Rangiferine brucellosis - Brucella suis

For more information please click on the links below to access the OIE fact sheets.

Stakeholder Updates

In March 2002 MAF was notified by the public health authorities of a human case of Brucella suis suspected to have been acquired in New Zealand, unlike previous human cases (offsite link to

Page last updated: 2 July 2010