One of the most frequent duties of the
bacteriologist is to assist the clinician in the
diagnosis of febrile conditions of obscure origin.
In this country two of the revers uppermost in his
mind are those due to the organisms of the enteric
group and undulant fever due to Brucella abortus.
When the diagnosis has been made, two questions must
arise: how the patient acquired his infection and
what might have been done to prevent it. The public
health bacteriologist, whose interests now send
increasingly to extend beyond the laboratory to the
wider fields of epidemiology and preventive medicine,
must play an important role, as an equal partner with
the medical officer of health, in finding the answer
to these questions. This partnership was fostered
by the war and is now well established. It has been
strengthened by the organisation of the Public Health
Laboratory Service which provided the opportunities
for many of the present observations, first in an
extensive rural area and Later in a reverence laboratory for brucella infections.
In the first part of this thesis the advances
that have been made in the investigation of enteric
fever during the last ten or fifteen years are reviewed
and the results of some, personal inquiries are
described. The second part comprises a discussion
of some aspects of the epidemiology of undulant fever,
based on the examination of about 400 strains of
brucella recently isolated in this country and elsewhere.