More than 3,000 people in the capital of Gansu province, China, contracted brucellosis, a disease that’s usually associated with brucella bacteria-carrying livestock. It is also known as Malta or Mediterranean fever. Symptoms include headaches, muscle pain, fever, and fatigue. Brucella is a bacteria rather than a virus, it’s seldom deadly, and almost never spreads between people. Workers at a factory,last year, the Zhongmu Lanzhou biological pharmaceutical factory, failed to disinfect waste gas, with wind carrying it down to the Lanzhou Veterinary Research Institute, where the outbreak was first reported in November. While producing Brucella vaccines for animal use, the factory used expired disinfectants and sanitizers , meaning not all bacteria were eradicated in the waste gas.
At least 181 people at the institute caught the bug. Other infected patients included students and faculty members of Lanzhou University. The eight people deemed responsible for the event were “severely punished,” according to a public apology issued by the factory. Human-to-human transmission is extremely rare, according to the CDC. Instead, most people are infected by eating contaminated food or breathing in the bacteria. No fatalities have been reported during this outbreak. Another 1,401 people have preliminarily tested positive. An investigation was launched, with authorities stripping the factory of its vaccine production licenses.