David Bruce


David Bruce was a Scottish pathologist and microbiologist born in Melbourne, Australia. He returned to Scotland at the age of five; Where he pursued a career in medicine and attended medical school. He worked as an assistant to a general practitioner in Surrey, England. After working in Surrey, he joined the Army medical services where he was a Surgeon captain.

Bruce was assigned to the island of Malta where he was responsible for the care of British soldiers. Upon his arrival, he witnessed an illness that caused body temperatures to rise to 41 °C during the night and normalize during the day. These symptoms would go for weeks and even caused deaths. Autopsy specimens from the liver and spleen yielded an organism that Bruce named micrococcus. Bruce tested micrococcus to see if this was the causative agent. He grew the organism in cultures and infected seven monkeys; four died and three lived who also mimicked the same symptoms (fever) that the humans had. He was then able to grow the same micrococcus from humans from the monkey’s tissues. He sent his finding to the Pasteur Institute identifying the causative agent as Micrococcus melitensis which was renamed to Brucella after him.


“David Bruce”.Wikwpedia, the free encyclopedia. 21 Oct.2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Bruce_(microbiologist)

S Y, Tan. 2011. “David Bruce (1855-1931) discoverer of brucellosis”.  Signapore Med, 52(3): 138-139.


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