Brucellosis Outbreak in China: Here’s Why India Needs to be Cautious on Time

The Coronavirus pandemic – with 31.6 million cases, with at least 971,000 deaths and over 21.7 million recovered cases – is becoming a bottomless pit that sees no end near. India has already recorded over 5.7 million Covid cases and 91,149 deaths since the pandemic broke in March this year.

While India is already reeling under the Covid-19 impact and struggling to find its bearings, another virus seems to be on the horizon. Scientists recently said there is a new contagious bacterial virus called Brucellosis. The bacterial disease, which mainly infects cattle, swine, goats, sheep and canines, can infect humans if they come in direct contact with the infected animals or by consuming contaminated animal products. It also poses a high risk of infection by inhaling airborne agents from or around infected animals.

The first outbreak of Brucellosis was reported in Lanzhou City in China. A leak in a biopharmaceutical company last year was attributed to its spread. More than 3,000 people were infected with the disease and no deaths were reported so far.

Recent findings point the disease has entered India and already has infected animals and humans. Authorities and scientists are worried this would be another pandemic to handle and will pose a greater threat than the current coronavirus.

Symptoms range from fever, sweating, anorexia, headaches and body pains. The signs and symptoms of the virus infection can be everlasting and may never leave the system. Recurrent fevers, arthritis, swelling of vital organs like the heart, liver and spleen etc. It can also spread through sexual contact, breastfeeding and other cuts or bruises, if exposed to the bacteria.

Indian reliance on cattle agriculture and livestock livelihood is high. We are more prone to the disease than any other nation. Farm animals pose a big threat of transmission – either through direct contact or by consumption of unpasteurized animal products, therefore more risk of contamination through farm animals is worrying the researchers in India.

With easing of travel restrictions, researchers are of the opinion to restrict travel to contain the new virus. The recent episodes of Brucellosis cases multiplying in North West China cannot be taken sitting low, because like COVID-19, this may spread to neighbouring countries as well.

There’s a wide need to implement new testing facilities and as the researchers expect the cases of Brucellosis to be over 1 lakh.