Sept. 17 (UPI) — Doctors diagnosed more than 3,000 people in China’s Gansu province with a bacterial disease known as brucellosis after a leak at a biopharmaceutical company.
The National Health Commission in Lanzhou said health officials tested nearly 22,000 people in the city for the illness and 3,245 came back positive.
No deaths have been associated with the outbreak.
Brucellosis is a bacterial infection that humans can contract after coming into contact with or drinking the milk of livestock infected with brucella. It’s also known as Malta fever or Mediterranean fever and causes headaches, muscle pain, fever, sweating, loss of appetite, and fatigue.
The NHC said it first detected cases of the illness in November after a leak at the Zhongmu Lanzhou factory “caused by contaminated exhaust from a vaccine factory in Lanzhou, due to the use of expired disinfectant from late-July to mid-August last year.”
The biological pharmaceutical factory produced a brucella vaccine, though its license to do so has since been revoked.
Among those infected were employees at the Lanzhou Veterinary Research Institute, which is located near the location of the leak, and students and faculty members at Lanzhou University.
Nearly 3 million people live in Lanzhou, the capital city of Gansu province.