Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V17, Page 515 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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MALTA (or MEDITERRANEAN) FEVER, a disease long prevalent of Malta and formerly at Gibraltar, as well as other Mediterranean centres, characterized by prolonged high temperature, with anaemia, pain and swelling in the joints, and neuritis, lasting on an average four months but extending even to two or three years. Its pathology was long obscure, but owing to conclusive research on the part of Colonel (afterwards Sir) David Bruce, to which contributions were made by various officers of the R.A.M.C. and others, this problem had now been solved. A specific micro-organism, the Micrococcus melitensis, was discovered in 1887, and it was traced to the milk of the Maltese goats. A commission was sent out to Malta in 1904 to investigate the question, and after three years' work its conclusions were embodied in a report by Colonel Bruce in 1907. It was shown that the disappearance of the disease from Gibraltar had synchronized with the non-importation of goats from Malta; and preventive measures adopted in Malta in 1906, by banishing goats' milk from the military and naval dietary, put a stop to the occurrence of cases. In the treatment of Malta fever a vaccine has been used with considerable success. MALTE-BRUN, CONRAD (1755-1826), French geographer, was born on the 12th of August 1755 at Thisted in Denmark, and died at Paris on the 14th of December 1826. His original name was Malte Conrad Bruun. While a student at Copenhagen he made himself famous partly by his verses,but more by the violence of his political pamphleteering; and at length, in 1800, the legal actions which the government authorities had from time to time instituted against him culminated in a sentence of banishment. The principles which he had advocated were those of the French Revolution, and after first seeking asylum in Sweden he found his way to Paris. There he looked forward to a political career; but, when Napoleon's personal ambition began to unfold itself, Malte-Brun was bold enough to protest, and to turn elsewhere for employment and advancement. He was associated with Edme Mentelle (1930-1815) in the compilation:of the Geographic mathematique . . . de toutes les parties du monde (Paris, 1803-1807, 16 vols.), and he became recognized as one of the best geographers of France. He is remembered, not only as the author of six volumes of the learned Precis de la geographie universe;'le (Paris,1810-1829), continued by other hands after his death, but also as the originator of the Annales des voyages (18o8), and one of the founders of the Geographical Society of Paris. His second son, VICTOR ADOLPHE MALTE-BRUN (1816-1889), followed his father's career of geographer, and was a voluminous author.

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