Hong Kong butcher infected with pig-borne disease

Updated: 2007-05-27 10:43

HONG KONG - A part-time Hong Kong butcher has become the third victim of the pig-borne disease Streptococcus suis in the territory in less than a month, the South China Morning Post reported on Saturday.

The article said the 54-year-old man developed fever, headache and neck pain nearly two weeks ago, but was admitted to hospital only on Tuesday and was stable yesterday.

It added that the victim helped sell pork at several markets.

All three cases in the territory were diagnosed within the past eight days and are believed to have been contracted locally, the report said.

While the patient had spent a day in the mainland Chinese city of Shenzhen early this month, the trip "may not be related" to the disease, the paper quoted an unnamed health official as saying.

There have been no reported cases on the Chinese mainland since a deadly outbreak in 2005, the article said. It added that the bacterial infection is rarely fatal in humans, but an unusually virulent strain killed more than 30 people in Sichuan province in 2005.

Eight cases were reported last year in Hong Kong, with 13 -- two of them fatal -- in 2005.

Pork prices have soared on the Chinese mainland after an outbreak of blue ear disease, or Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) which surfaced a year ago. Experts and industry sources have said it wiped out as many as a million pigs.

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