Brucellosis: A potential pandemic or a hoax?
After the exploding new cases of COVID-19 around the globe, recently brucellosis is making its way in the news regarding its potential of becoming a new pandemic. Brucellosis is endemic in animal husbandry and there is a lot of information regarding the same in medicine. Recently a lot of discussions are going around on social media regarding the outbreak of brucellosis going on in the Lanzhou city of China.
This incident took place in the later months of 2019, the brucellosis bacteria was accidentally released into the atmosphere from the Lanzhou pharmaceuticals due to the use of expired disinfectants in the production of bruchester vaccine.
The virus was responsible for affecting the population of Lanzhou city along with the staff working at the laboratory. Initially, by the end of December 2019, there were 181 confirmed brucellosis cases according to the local news report from Xinhua (state-run news agency)*. As the infectious agent was airborne in the city many individuals were affected, as of September 14, 2020, a total of 21,817 people were tested for brucellosis out of which 4646 were initially deemed as positive and 3245 were confirmed positive by the provincial CDC review**. Lanzhou pharmaceuticals along with the local government official are trying hard to compensate the affected individuals and assisting in the region cleanup.
Various patents and approval which was given to Lanzhou pharma during this period were revoked as the result of this accident. The pharmaceutical company also published an apology letter in the newspaper regarding the incident.
Brucellosis is not a newly found disease like COVID-19, it was found commonly in many regions for a long time and is usually associated with cattle, swine, goats, sheep, and dogs. Animals usually get infected and the disease is spread to humans by the consumption of infected animal or animal products (consumption of unpasteurized milk). Inhalation of the bacteria is also the possible route of infection like this outbreak, but human to human transmission is extremely rare. The disease Is currently curable with the use of antibiotics and vaccination in the cattle. Currently, brucellosis is considered as one of the occupation-related diseases and its probability of becoming a pandemic is very low. Canada does not have an outbreak of this disease right now and the chances of this becoming endemic in Canada are negligible. It can be safely said that the information that was spread across social media was merely a hoax.
Health commission of Lanzhou city**
World health organization official website.