According to reports, thousands of people have been found positive for a disease caused by bacteria in Gansu province in northwest China. The disease is said to be caused by a leak that happened at a pharmaceutical company last year.
The disease which is also known as Malta fever or Mediterranean fever is often caused by coming in contact with the livestock carrying the bacteria named brucella. No fatalities have occurred due to the disease as yet. The authorities have tested 21,847 people out of a total population of 2.9 million in Lanzhou, the capital city of Gansu province. Around 3,245 people have been infected with the disease as told by the Lanzhou Health Commission. The symptoms of the disease include headache, muscle pain, fever and fatigue. According to reports, some of the symptoms of the disease can turn chronic which may include arthritis or swelling in organs.
The human to human transmission of the disease is reportedly rare. The contamination mostly happens by consuming contaminated food and breathing in the bacteria.
How the Outbreak Happened
According to reports, there was a leak at the Zhongmu Lanzhou biological pharmaceutical factory between July and August last year. The factory used expired disinfectants and sanitizers while producing Brucella vaccines for animal use. Due to the use of expired disinfectants, the bacteria in the waste gas might not have been eliminated completely.
The contaminated waste gas formed aerosols containing the bacteria and leaked into the air. The outbreak was first reported at the Lanzhou Veterinary Research Institute in November. Students and faculty members were among the people infected at the Institute. The infection then spread to the northwestern parts of China.
The vaccine production license of the factory was revoked in January. The factory had issued a public apology in February this year and said that it had punished the eight people responsible for the incident. It assured to cooperate with the local authorities in the compensation programme for affected people.
In July this year, China had issued a warning regarding the spread of the deadly bubonic plague in Bayan Nur in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.