China lab leak infects thousands with bacterial disease

China lab leak infects thousands with bacterial disease


Beijing: Last year, thousands of people in the Northwestern region tested positive for bacterial diseases after a leak from a state-owned biopharmaceutical factory that produces animal vaccines.

Health officials in Lanzhou said that 3,245 people have contracted brucellosis, which is usually caused by close contact with infected animals or animal products and can cause fever, joint pain and headaches.

Another 1,401 people have tested positive for the disease early, and health authorities said that so far, there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission.

Chinese authorities discovered that between July and August last year, a biopharmaceutical factory used expired disinfectants when producing Brucella vaccines for animals-meaning that the bacteria had not been eliminated from the factory’s exhaust.

The polluted gas from the Lanzhou Biopharmaceutical Plant of China Animal Husbandry in Lanzhou formed an aerosol containing bacteria, which was then brought to the Lanzhou Veterinary Research Institute by wind. As of December last year, it had infected nearly 200 people.

According to Xinhua News Agency, more than 20 teachers and students at Lanzhou University (some of them had been to the college) were subsequently tested positive.

The Lanzhou Health Commission said on Friday that sheep, cattle and pigs are most commonly involved in the spread of bacteria.

According to a report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the spread of brucellosis from person to person is “extremely rare”, but certain symptoms may recur or never disappear.

These include repeated fever, chronic fatigue, heart swelling or arthritis.

Lanzhou authorities said the plant had apologized earlier this year and had revoked its production license for brucellosis vaccine.

According to the local government, compensation for patients will begin in October.

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