It is believed that an infection is more common and runs a more protracted course in people with diabetes. In clinical practice, it is important to be aware of these associations, as the prognosis is often dependent upon prompt recognition and appropriate treatment. To show the course of brucellosis in the diabetic state, a model of Brucella melitensis infection was used in the setting of streptozotocin-induced diabetes in rat. B. melitensis infection proceeded more severely in diabetic rats and the severity of diabetes affected the prognosis. However, no association was found between B. melitensis and insulin using in vitro and in vivo experiments. Our study illustrates that B. melitensis infection in diabetes should be taken seriously. (C) 2003 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.