Udayavni Special

What is brucellosis, the disease that infected 3,200 people in China?

Team Udayavani, Sep 20, 2020, 12:11 PM IST

Authorities in the northwestern Chinese city of Lanzhou said 3,245 people have tested positive for brucellosis, a deadly bacterial infection after an outbreak caused by a leak at a biopharmaceutical company last year.

Zhongmu Lanzhou biological pharmaceutical factory, which was making brucellosis vaccines for animals, accidentally vented an aerosolized version of Brucella (the bacteria that causes brucellosis) into the air last summer due to the use of expired sanitizers and disinfectants.

This has led to the spread of the bacterial disease across the surrounding area through the air.

According to WHO, brucellosis is a bacterial disease caused by various Brucella species, which mainly infect cattle, swine, goats, sheep and dogs.

It causes flu-like symptoms, including fever, weakness, malaise and weight loss. Humans can get infected through direct contact with infected animals, by eating or drinking contaminated animal products, or by inhaling airborne agents.

According to CDC, while person-to-person spread of brucellosis is extremely rare, breastfeeding mothers who are infected with the bacteria may transmit the infection to their infants.

It is treated with antibiotics, including rifampin and doxycycline. Recovery from the illness may take a few weeks to several months, depending on the timing of treatment and severity of the infection.

Brucellosis is preventable and in order to lower the chances of getting it, one must, Avoid consuming raw meat or unpasteurized milk, cheese, and ice cream, Wear gloves and protective glasses when handling animals or animal tissues, Cover any open wounds on your skin when coming in contact with animal blood and Wear protective clothing and gloves when helping animals give birth.

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