More than 3,000 people in northwestern China have tested positive for a deadly bacterial infection after an epidemic caused by a leak at a biopharmaceutical company last year. The National Health Commission (NHC) of Lanzhou confirmed that a minimum of 3,245 people within the city of Lanzhou – the capital of Gansu – are diagnosed with the communicable disease usually caused by drinking unpasteurised milk or contact with livestock. However, the infection also can be caused by inhaling the bacteria, which appears to be the case in Lanzhou.
Authorities have now discovered that the 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 thanks to the utilization of expired sanitizers & disinfectants. This has led to the spread of the bacterial disease across the encompassing area through the air. Some experts fear that the zoonosis disease can have more serious side effects, including inflammation of the liver & spleen, respiratory issues, lasting damage to the genital system which will cause infertility in men. Read on to find out more about this potentially deadly disease.
What is Brucellosis? What are the signs & symptoms of the disease?
It is an communicable disease caused by a gaggle of bacteria from the genus Brucella. These bacteria can infect both humans & animals – like sheep, cattle, goats, pigs, & dogs, etc.
The signs & symptoms of brucellosis disease may include:
- Fever that comes and goes
- Abdominal pain
- Joint, muscle & back pain
- Weight loss
- Appetite loss
As per the CDC, a number of these symptoms can present for prolonged periods of time .
How do people get Brucellosis disease?
Eating or drinking unpasteurized/raw dairy products is that the commonest way to be infected with bacteria. But the bacteria that causes brucellosis also can be spread through the air or direct contact with infected animals. These bacteria can enter the body through open wounds or mucous membranes. The CDC states 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. Transmission of the disease can also occur via tissue transplantation or blood transfusions, although sexual transmission has been rarely reported.
Brucellosis disease is more common in some parts of the planet where people are more likely to consume unpasteurized chevre, sometimes called village cheese, as per the Mayo Clinic.
Complications of Brucellosis disease
The infection can affect most parts of the body – like the heart, liver, central systema nervosum, & therefore the genital system. Health experts said one among the intense complications thanks to the disease may result in inflammed testicles, resulting in infertility in men.
Other possible side effects of brucellosis include – arthritis, endocarditis (infection of the heart’s inner lining), encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), meningitis (inflammation of the membranes around your brain), etc. The death rate for brucellosis is about 2%.
Treatment and prevention
Brucellosis disease is typically treated with antibiotics, including rifampin & doxycycline. Recovery from the illness may take a couple of weeks to many months, counting on the timing of treatment & severity of the infection.
Avoiding raw/unpasteurised dairy products & taking safety precautions like wearing rubber gloves, gowns or aprons, when handling animals or working during a laboratory can help prevent or reduce the danger of getting brucellosis. Other preventive measures include cooking meat properly, vaccinating domestic animal, etc.