While India is currently reeling under Coronavirus impact and struggling to get back on its feet, it seems that we are headed towards another pandemic. According to scientists, there is a new contagious bacterial virus- Brucellosis. It is a bacterial infection that affects both animals and humans. Also Read - Delhi Records Highest Single-Day Spike With 4,853 Fresh Covid Cases; Death Toll Climbs To 6,356

Brucellosis in India
It is caused by a group of bacteria belonging to the genus Brucella. It usually spreads to people by eating raw or unpasteurized dairy products. It also spread by coming in 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. Also Read - Covid-19 Cases Increased in 5 States During Festive Season; Recovery Rate Above 90%: Govt

Brucellosis outbreak in China
The outbreak took place last year in December 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. Also Read - COVID-19 Puts Pause on Highly Revered Himachal Deity's Winter Sojourn

Symptoms of Brucellosis
Signs and symptoms of Brucellosis include fever, joint pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, headache, sweats, etc. The symptoms may show 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.  Here’s why India could just be more prone to this new infection 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 contain the virus. As per Mid-Day, Dr Wiqar Shaikh, senior allergy and asthma specialist said, “Is the world looking at the beginning of a new pandemic? 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. “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, therefore more risk of contamination through farm animals
It has been reported that it 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 report in Mid-Day said. The researchers are of the opinion that the symptoms of COVID-19 and Brucellosis might overlap.

3. The need for wide testing for Brucellosis
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, “Unlike COVID-19, which was a new disease for this country, the incidence of Brucellosis in India is approximately 1 lakh cases per year, with a mortality of approximately 2 percent. 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. Just the way swab samples are taken for Coronavirus, blood culture and IgM antibodies test should be done for the bacterial disease. Currently, no effective vaccine is available for Brucellosis, as is also the case with COVID-19.”

4. No vaccine for Brucellosis yet
The report said that the present symptoms of both the diseases (coronavirus and brucellosis) are similar. However, a difference is that in the case of brucellosis, arthritis (joint swelling), spondylitis (swelling of the backbone), and swelling of the testicles are added symptoms. Another major difference is that although no treatment is available for COVID-19, there are multiple antibiotics available for treating brucellosis, no vaccine is available yet.