Forget Coronavirus, worry about Brucellosis outbreak in India

by pranjalipargaonkar

Pune: Currently, India is fighting coronavirus and struggling to get everything back to normal. However this still seems a far away picture due to probability of hitting another pandemic. According to scientists, there is a new contagious bacterial virus- Brucellosis, it affects both animals and humans. It is caused by a group of bacteria belonging to the genus Brucella.

How it is spread?

It usually spreads to people by consuming raw or unpasteurized dairy products. The another way of spreading is direct contact with the fluid of an infected animal or inhaling contaminated air. The recent findings state that the disease has entered India and has started to impact humans and animals. Scientists are worried that this can be another pandemic and can be much more severe than the novel coronavirus.

Brucellosis outbreak in China

Once again, China is the place where outbreak took place in last year, December. This occurred due to a leak at a biopharmaceutical company. According to the National Health Commission (NHC) of Lanzhou, around 3,245 people in the capital of Gansu province have been diagnosed with Brucellosis.

Symptoms of Brucellosis

Every outbreak has a symptoms. The signs and symptoms of Brucellosis include fever, joint pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, headache, sweats, etc. The symptoms may vary from a few days to a few months after being infected by the disease. It can be spread from sexual contact, breastfeeding mothers can pass the bacteria to the babies, if you have a severe cut or scratch on your skin, you are prone to the disease.

Brucellosis in India could just be more prone to Indian than any other country around:

1. No restriction on travel yet

While some researchers believe that the bacteria is already present in India, it is best to restrict travel to prevent the spread of the virus. The recent episodes of Brucellosis cases multiplying in North West China, same can be the case with India. “Dr Seyed E Hasnain, professor of Molecular Medicine, vice-chancellor of Jamia Hamdard, and Hon professor at IIT-Delhi, in the report, further said that the recent evidence suggests that Brucellosis is getting associated with returning travellers and is a serious concern in countries with low and middle-income group people.

2. India is agricultural land

India is an agricultural land that makes risk of contamination through farm animals more prominent. As reported Brucellosis is transmitted to humans from farm animals including pigs, cows, buffaloes. It can be transferred through direct contact or through products including pasteurized animal products. The researchers are of the opinion that the symptoms of COVID-19 and Brucellosis might overlap.

3. The need for wide testing for Brucellosis

We already lack in testing in case of coronavirus. However, India is doing decent now as it crossed 60 crores of testing but Brucellosis is less covered matter.
According to researchers, India already has approximately 1 lakh cases of Brucellosis per year. Scientists are worried that this can turn into a pandemic must faster than COVId-19. There is a need for wide testing for brucellosis as well just like the coronavirus.

The report further stated, “the incidence of Brucellosis in India is approximately 1 lakh cases per year, with a mortality of approximately 2%. Unfortunately, a disease that already exists in the country, can turn into a pandemic faster and become more severe. So, doctors should test patients with high fever both for COVID-19 and brucellosis.

4. No vaccine for Brucellosis

World is developing vaccine for Coronavirus, Brucellosis is yet not even in discussion at policy making level. The report said that the present symptoms of both the diseases (coronavirus and brucellosis) are similar. However, arthritis (joint swelling), spondylitis (swelling of the backbone), and swelling of the testicles makes brucellosis different from coronavirus. Another major difference is, there are multiple antibiotics available for treating brucellosis, no vaccine is available yet.

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