The Health Commission of Lanzhou, the capital city of Gansu province, announced that 3,245 people had contracted the disease brucellosis. The disease is often caused by contact with livestock carrying the bacteria brucella, CNN reported.

This outbreak began from a leak at the Zhongmu Lanzhou biological pharmaceutical factory, which occurred between late July to late August last year, according to the city’s Health Commission.

Another 1,1401 people have also tested positive of the disease but there have been no fatalities reported, the city’s Health Commission said. In total, authorities have tested 21,847 people out of the city’s 2.9 million population
People can get the disease when they are in contact with infected animals or animal products contaminated with the bacteria. Animals that are most commonly infected include sheep, cattle, goats, pigs, and dogs, among others.

The disease Brucellosis, also known as Malta fever or Mediterranean fever, can cause symptoms including headaches, muscle pain, fever and fatigue.

While some symptoms can become chronic or never go away, like arthritis or swelling in certain organs, according to the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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 — which seems to be the case in Lanzhou.

The novel virus may cause testicular damage and male infertility, Chinese experts found, recommending infected men take tests for semen quality and hormone levels.

A report in the South China Morning Post quoted Zhu Guoqiang, a professor at Yangzhou University’s College of Veterinary Medicine saying that in serious cases, brucellosis could cause lasting damage to the reproductive system. “If not treated properly, men can become infertile,”

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