David Bruce (microbiologist)

David Bruce (microbiologist)
David Bruce

David Bruce
Born 29 May 1855
Died 27 November 1931(1931-11-27) (aged 76)
Nationality Scottish
Fields microbiology
Alma mater University of Edinburgh
Known for trypanosome
Notable awards Leeuwenhoek Medal in 1915

Major-General Sir David Bruce KCB FRS[1] FRSE (29 May 1855, Melbourne - 27 November 1931, London) was a Scottish pathologist and microbiologist who investigated the Malta-fever and trypanosomes, identifying the cause of sleeping sickness.

He was born to Scottish parents, engineer David Bruce and his wife Jane Russell Hamilton, in Australia and returned with his family to Scotland at the age of 5. He was educated at Stirling High School and then studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh.[2]

After a brief period as a general practitioner in Reigate (1881–83) he joined the Army Medical Service (1883–1919) and in 1884 was stationed in Malta, where he identified Malta Fever. In 1903 he identified the causative protozoa, and tsetse fly as the vector, of African trypanosomiasis ("sleeping sickness").

He won the Leeuwenhoek Medal in 1915.

Brucella is the genus of the Bacteriaceae which is named after him. Brucella melitensis is the cause of undulant fever in man and of abortion in goats. It is usually transmitted by goat's milk. Trypanosoma brucei, the cause of sleeping sickness, is also named after him.


Names of undulant fever

Malta fever
Mediterranean fever
continued fever
Cyprus fever
goat fever
Gibraltar fever
mountain fever
Neapolitan fever
rock fever
slow fever
febris melitensis
febris undulans
Bruce's septicemia
melitensis septicemia


  1. ^ b., J. R. (1932). "Sir David Bruce. 1855-1931". Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society 1: 79. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1932.0017.  edit
  2. ^ "Former RSE Fellows 1783–2002". Royal Society of Edinburgh. http://www.rse.org.uk/fellowship/fells_indexp1.pdf. Retrieved 19 September 2010. 


  • Laval R E (December 2006). "Contribución al estudio histórico de la brucelosis en Chile [A contribution to historical understanding of brucellosis in Chile]" (in Spanish). Revista chilena de infectología 23 (4): 362–6. doi:/S0716-10182006000400012 (inactive 2009-12-18). PMID 17186086. http://www.scielo.cl/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0716-10182006000400012&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en. 
  • Ellis H (March 2006). "Sir David Bruce, a pioneer of tropical medicine". British Journal of Hospital Medicine 67 (3): 158. PMID 16562450. 
  • Pai-Dhungat JV, Parikh F (May 2004). "Sir David Bruce (1855-1931) postal stamps released to commemorate Anti-Brucellosis Congress-Malta 1964". The Journal of the Association of Physicians of India 52: 428. PMID 15656037. 
  • Haas LF (April 2001). "Sir David Bruce (1855-1931) and Thermistocles Zammit (1864-1935)". Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry 70 (4): 520. doi:10.1136/jnnp.70.4.520. PMC 1737312. PMID 11254779. http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pmcentrez&artid=1737312. 
  • Vassallo DJ (September 1996). "The saga of brucellosis: controversy over credit for linking Malta fever with goats' milk". Lancet 348 (9030): 804–8. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(96)05470-0. PMID 8813991. 
  • Grogono BJ (August 1995). "Sir David and Lady Bruce. Part II: further adventures and triumphs". Journal of Medical Biography 3 (3): 125–32. PMID 11639830. 
  • Freeling P (June 1995). "The Sir David Bruce Lecture, 1994. A matter of principles". Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps 141 (2): 61–9. PMID 7562740. 
  • Grogono BJ (May 1995). "Sir David and Lady Bruce. Part I: A superb combination in the elucidation and prevention of devastating diseases". Journal of Medical Biography 3 (2): 79–83. PMID 11640041. 
  • Joubert JJ, Schutte CH, Irons DJ, Fripp PJ (1993). "Ubombo and the site of David Bruce's discovery of Trypanosoma brucei". Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 87 (4): 494–5. doi:10.1016/0035-9203(93)90056-V. PMID 8249096. 
  • Evans JA (1993). "Sir David Bruce: the dawn of microbiology". Veterinary History 7 (3): 105–9. PMID 11639304. 
  • Carne SJ (June 1991). "Sir David Bruce Lecture 1990. "Heads and tales"". Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps 137 (2): 63–8. PMID 1875320. 
  • Morrell DC (June 1989). "Sir David Bruce memorial lecture 1988". Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps 135 (2): 43–8. PMID 2671356. 
  • Mochmann H, Köhler W (1988). "100 years of bacteriology--history of the discovery of brucellosis. 1: Uncovering the etiology of Malta fever by the British military surgeon David Bruce and the Mediterranean Fever Commission [100 years of bacteriology--history of the discovery of brucellosis. 1: Uncovering the etiology of Malta fever by the British military surgeon David Bruce and the Mediterranean Fever Commission]" (in German). Zeitschrift Für Ärztliche Fortbildung 82 (6): 287–90. PMID 3043930. 
  • Duggan AJ (September 1977). "Bruce and the African Trypanosomes". The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 26 (5 Pt 2 Suppl): 1080–3. PMID 20787. http://www.ajtmh.org/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=20787. 
  • Boyd J (June 1973). "Sleeping sickness. The Castellani-Bruce controversy". Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London 28: 93–110. doi:10.1098/rsnr.1973.0008. PMID 11615538. 
  • ROBERTSON M (April 1956). "Some aspects of trypanosomiasis with particular reference to the work of Sir David Bruce". The Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 59 (4): 69–77. PMID 13332700. 
  • MACARTHUR W (September 1955). "An account of some of Sir David Bruce's researches, based on his own manuscript notes". Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 49 (5): 404–12. doi:10.1016/0035-9203(55)90003-1. PMID 13267903. 
  • "Nova et Vetera". British Medical Journal 1 (4925): 1337. May 1955. doi:10.1136/bmj.1.4925.1337. PMC 2062064. PMID 14363890. http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pmcentrez&artid=2062064. 
  • ROBERTSON M (April 1955). "Sir David Bruce: an appreciation of the man and his work". Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps 101 (2): 91–9. PMID 14368591. 
  • TULLOCH WJ (April 1955). "Sir David Bruce; an appreciation". Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps 101 (2): 81–90. PMID 14368590. 
  • DAVIES M (April 1955). "A bibliography of the work of Sir David Bruce, 1887-1924". Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps 101 (2): 122–9. PMID 13248207. 
  • SACHS A (October 1951). "A memorial to major-general sir David Bruce, K.C.B., F.R.S". Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps 97 (4): 293–5. PMID 14889518. 

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