Thousands Infected With Bacterial Disease After Leak At China State Lab
Thousands of people in north-west China have tested positive for a bacterial disease after a leak from a state-owned biopharmaceutical plant making animal vaccines last year. Health officials in Lanzhou city said 3,245 people had contracted brucellosis, a disease often caused by close contact with infected animals or animal products that can bring about fevers, joint pain and headaches.
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Another 1,401 people tested as an early positive for the disease, and health authorities said there was no evidence of person-to-person transmission so far. Chinese authorities found a biopharma plant had used expired disinfectant in its production of Brucella vaccines for animals between July and August last year — meaning the bacteria was not eradicated in its exhaust.
Contaminated gas from the China Animal Husbandry Lanzhou Biopharmaceutical Factory in Lanzhou 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. Lanzhou’s health commission said on Friday that sheep, cattle and pigs were most commonly involved in the spread of the bacteria.
According to the US CDC, person-to-person transmission of brucellosis is “extremely rare” but some symptoms may reoccur or never go away. These include recurrent fevers, chronic fatigue, and swelling of the heart or arthritis. The factory — which apologised earlier this year — has had its brucellosis vaccine production licence revoked, the authorities said. AFP