General Information: This strain is a standard laboratory strain. It is virulent for humans and cattle. Causes bovine brucellosis. They are highly infectious, and can be spread through contact with infected animal products or through the air, making them a potential bioterrorism agent. Once the organism has entered the body, it can become intracellular, and enter the blood and lymphatic regions, multiplying inside phagocytes before eventually causing bacteremia (spread of bacteria through the blood). Virulence may depend on a type IV secretion system which may promote intracellular growth by secreting important effector molecules. This organism was first noticed on the island of Malta. It is the primary cause of bovine brucellosis, which results in enormous (billions of dollars) economic losses due primarily to reproductive failure and food losses. In man, it causes undulant fever, a long debilitating disease that is treated by protracted administration of antibiotics.