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September 4, 2011

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Home » Metro » Education

Students ill after dissecting goats

TWENTY-SEVEN students and a teacher caught a severe disease when dissecting goats at a university in northeast China, China Youth Daily reported yesterday.

The victims from Northeast Agricultural University in Heilongjiang Province were diagnosed in March with brucellosis, also known as undulant fever, an infectious disease classified as severe as the H1N1 flu, SARS and AIDS, the report said. They are still in hospitals.

Brucellosis is an infectious disease caused by a bacteria that is primarily spread among animals. Humans become infected after coming in contact with animals or animal products that are contaminated with these bacteria. The disease does not spread between humans and can be treated with antibiotics.

Some students in five classes found they had similar symptoms, including fever, headache and serious joint pain that made it hard to walk, after anatomy experiments on goats in December, Wang Yongjie, a 20-year-old student who was infected with the disease, told the newspaper.

One of Wang's classmates couldn't walk in March because of joint pain and was carried on his mother's back to school, Wang added.

The students and teacher were diagnosed in March after the university launched medical checks.

The province's education department later found the disease stemmed from the four goats used in the experiments.

The department said the university should take responsibility because the employees who bought the goats from a local farm didn't quarantine the animals, while the instructors also failed to ensure adequate protection measures during the experiments.

The department fired two top officials at the school and the university was told to pay all medical expenses, as well as compensation, the report said.

Brucellosis may cause long-lasting or chronic symptoms that include recurrent fevers, joint pain and fatigue.


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