September 2020

Here’s a comforting sentence: an outbreak of a bacterial disease in China is ‘way larger’ than originally thought.

About 3,500 people have tested positive for brucellosis in the city of Lanzhou. Symptoms include a flu-like illness, sweats, weight-loss, and muscle pain. Some can become chronic or permanent, such as arthritis or swelling in certain organs.

But don’t worry, everyone. Human-to-human transmission of brucellosis is incredibly rare and most people get it by eating contaminated food or breathing in the bacteria while in close contact with livestock.

Experts say this outbreak was caused by a leak at a biopharmaceutical plant which, ironically, was pumping the brucella bacteria into the air while producing a vaccine for the virus.