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Brutal brucellosis

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: (Published 01 July 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:0507293
  1. Philip MacMillan, third year medical student1
  1. 1University of Bristol

Philip MacMillan took part in a research project in Tanzania funded by the UK government's Department for International Development. He shares his experiences

Brucellosis is a bacterial disease that can pass from farm animals to people. In livestock, it induces abortion and reduced milk production, and in people it causes a serious acute illness, featuring endocarditis and arthritis, which may progress to cause permanent disability. Brucellosis occurs in almost all developing countries and can have disastrous implications for rural communities.


While working as a laboratory technician during the university vacation, I became aware of the Tanzanian project run in collaboration with Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities. I contacted a senior researcher from Edinburgh who was overseeing the project, explained my medical background, and expressed my interest. At the laboratory I had been involved in testing blood samples sent from Tanzania and so had the relevant skills. I had also contacted other people in the United Kingdom and in Tanzania involved with the project to find out as much as I could and so was also able to show that I had a thorough understanding of the nature of the work. I explained that I would love to help with fieldwork in Tanzania and that I could fund …

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