Over 6000 People Infected with Brucellosis in China’s Lanzhou

After the outbreak of novel coronavirus almost a year ago, China is now reporting cases of Brucellosis. This bacterial disease has infected more than 6,000 people in a single outbreak in Chinese north-western province of Gansu. The outbreak is caused by a leak at a vaccine plant, leading to people undergoing treatment even a year after the incident.

The Health Commission of Lanzhou, the capital city of Gansu province, confirmed that the government has tested as many as 55,725 people in the city, of which 6,620 have contracted the disease Brucellosis, caused by contact with livestock carrying the bacteria Brucella. This represents a big jump from 3,245 positive cases for Brucellosis, as reported on September 14 and has forced China’s top legislative body to pass a law to establish protocols for biosecurity risk prevention and control. Systems to respond to risks, including sudden outbreaks.

Brucellosis exhibits flu-like symptoms, including fever and weakness, which emerge over a few weeks; are transferred to humans through direct contact with infected animals, by eating or drinking contaminated animal products, or by inhaling airborne agents the World Health Organization. The mortality rate is low, though complications could lead to death. Some symptoms, such as joint pain, may aggravate to become chronic and incurable.

According to Lanzhou’s health commission statement dated in September, the outbreak originated at a biopharmaceutical factory owned by China Animal Husbandry Industry Co. The factory had used disinfectants during July to August 2019 to manufacture brucellosis vaccines, leaving the bacteria in its polluted waste gas. This contaminated waste gas later formed aerosols that drifted downwind to the Lanzhou Veterinary Research Institute. The outbreak was first recorded in November last year, the health commission said. About half a million brucellosis infections are reported each year worldwide, with China typically accounting for tens of thousands. In 2019, China had reported 44,036 cases with one death, up from 37,947 cases and zero deaths a year earlier. Brucellosis is more common in the pastoral area in the west and north of China, categorized as a Class B infectious disease under a three-tier system.

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