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    300 infected with brucellosis in Bamyan

    BAMYAN CITY (PAN): As many as 300 people, 80 percent of them women and girls, have contracted brucellosis, a serious bacterial disease that causes fever, joint pain and fatigue, in central Bamyan province, a recent survey shows.

    Brucellosis, also called undulant fever, or Malta fever in humans, is a highly contagious disease spread by contact with infected animals, eating raw meat or unpasteurised cheese or drinking infected milk. In humans, brucellosis can cause symptoms similar to those of flu, including fever, sweats, headaches, back pains and physical weakness.

    The survey was conducted with financial support from the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Punjab, Waras and Yakawlang districts, the veterinary department head, Dr. Haidar, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

    "Most of the people infected with the brucellosis are disabled. Medicine available at local clinics is inadequate," he said, fearing the disease could spread to other parts of the province if urgent measures at its prevention were not taken.

    Residents of these districts lived with animals in their houses, where girls and women looked after animals.

    "We are poor people and live with animals in our homes," said Mohammad Karim, 45, a resident of Gandab area in Punjab district.

    Karim brought his daughter who had contracted brucellosis to a clinic. The girl said she could not walk due to back and joint pains. She said before the infection, she did not know about the disease, but now she would inform her relatives to stay away from infected animals.

    According to Dr. Abozar Mutaqqi, head of a hospital in Punjab district, 200 patients suffering from brucellosis had so far been treated in the hospital in last two years. The recent outbreak affected veterinary workers and cattle raisers mostly in Punjab district, where 8 to 10 cases were detected each month, he said.

    Muttaqi said the only way to eradicate the disease was the removal of all the 200 infected animals in the district. He also said there was a need for creating awareness among people about the disease, but it needed enough expenses.

    Although no report about any death due to brucellosis has been surfaced as yet, last year two people died of the disease in Punjab district.