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Veterinarians play down disease threat
By Zhao Huanxin and Zhang Feng (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-07-28 05:53

Officials and experts yesterday moved to play down the threat from the pig-borne infection that has killed 27 people in Southwest China's Sichuan Province.

Staff from Hefei Poultry and Aquatic Produce Bureau in East China's Anhui Province examine a pig at a slaughter house in the provincial capital Hefei on Tuesday night, checking for possible traces of the pig-borne disease that has killed 27 people in Southwest China's Sichuan Province. [newsphoto]
By noon yesterday, the number of people infected with the bacteria, streptococcus suis, had reached 131, 14 more than the day before.

Although most cases have been reported in the cities of Ziyang and Neijiang, six towns in other regions of Sichuan reported six human cases yesterday, according to a statement from the Ministry of Health.

The statement did not identify the regions but said the six cases were not new outbreaks. They were found only because the local governments had stepped up efforts to identify infected people after many cases were found in Ziyang and Neijiang.

Pork sales are expected to be hit as cases of the disease continue to rise, but the ministry was keen to point out that of the 14 newly reported cases, only two people became ill on Tuesday. The remaining 12 patients fell ill several days ago but were only diagnosed yesterday.

Ultimately, the outbreak will pose no permanent threat to either the industry or humans, leading veterinary experts in Nanjing and officials in Beijing said.
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