Bacteria outbreak in China infects 3,000 people

MANILA, Philippines – More than 3,000 people in north-west China have tested positive for bacterial disease following a leak from state-owned plant that makes animal vaccines.

Lanzhou city confirmed that 3,245 people had contracted brucellosis, a bacterial infection that spreads from animals to people.

Bacteria outbreak in China infects 3,000 people
Thousands in China infected of bacterial disease. Photo Credit: Reuters

The disease is also called undulant fever, Malta fever, and Mediterranean fever.

Mayo Clinic said "most commonly, people are infected by eating raw or unpasteurized dairy products. Sometimes, the bacteria that cause brucellosis can spread through the air or through direct contact with infected animals."

Signs and symptoms of brucellosis may include fever, joint pain and fatigue. The infection can usually be treated with antibiotics. However, treatment takes several weeks to months, and the infection can recur.

SEE ALSO: Tick-borne SFTS virus spreading in China

Health authorities in China added that 1,401 people tested as an early positive for the illness, and health authorities said there was no evidence of "person-to-person transmission" so far.

Reports said that China Animal Husbandry Lanzhou Biopharmaceutical Factory had used expired disinfectant in its production of Brucella vaccines for animals between July and August last year. This means the bacteria was not eradicated in its factory exhaust.

The contaminated gas formed aerosols containing the bacteria, and this was then carried by wind to the Lanzhou Veterinary Research Institute, infecting nearly 200 people there as of December last year.

More than 20 students and faculty members of Lanzhou University, some of whom had been to the institute, subsequently tested positive as well, according to Xinhua news agency.

Brucellosis is not unknown in China but cases has declined since the 1980s with the emergence of vaccines and better disease prevention and control.

A microscope view of the brucella bacterium
A microscope view of the brucella bacterium, which causes the brucellosis disease. Photo Credit: CNN

In Bosnia, the outbreak infected 1,000 people in 2008 with the government decided for the culling of sheep and other infected livestock.

— The Summit Express

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