Thousands of residents of a northwest China city have been diagnosed with a highly infectious bacterial disease known as brucellosis after being exposed to polluted air from a pharmaceutical company last year. Health authorities in Lanzhou, capital of Gansu province, said on Tuesday they had tested 21,847 people and 3,245 were positive for brucella bacteria antibodies. The infections were caused by contaminated exhaust fumes from the Lanzhou Biopharmaceutical Plant, a unit of state-owned China Animal Husbandry Industry.
The company was found to have used out-of-date sanitisers in the production of brucella vaccines, allowing the bacteria to enter its exhaust air and infecting people living and working nearby. Health authorities said in December the factory used the expired sanitisers between July 24 and August 20. The company had its licence to manufacture the vaccines revoked and eight of its senior managers were punished.
The brucella bacteria affects livestock such as sheep, goat and pigs but can be passed from animals to humans. Symptoms of infection include fever, bone and joint pain, and reproductive system problems. Many of the people affected worked at the Lanzhou Veterinary Research Institute, located just a few hundred metres from the plant. Read More...
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