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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Tests on North Carolina pigs that showed symptoms of foot-and-mouth disease were negative for the contagious virus, officials said Saturday.

Samples were taken in Robersonville, N.C., where pigs at a meatpacking plant had some symptoms of the disease, and in Sampson County, N.C., on pigs from the same distributor, the Agriculture Department said.

About 400 tests for possible foreign animal disease are done each year in America, including 100 for foot-and-mouth, the department said.

The United States has not had a confirmed case of foot-and-mouth since 1929, but federal and state officials frequently test animals that exhibit symptoms similar to those caused by the disease, including blisters on the hooves and mouth.

While the disease is not fatal to livestock or harmful to humans, it weakens cattle, sheep and pigs.

The samples were tested at a federal lab on Plum Island, off New York's Long Island. It is the only facility where foot-and-mouth testing is done.

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Agriculture Department: http://www.usda.gov