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China Reports Four Have Pig-Borne Disease

August 23, 2005

BEIJING (AP) _ Four people have been reported infected by a pig-borne disease in southern China, including one who died of the illness, the government said Monday, a day after an epidemic elsewhere in China was declared under control.

The infections were reported in four different areas in Guangdong province, the official Xinhua News Agency said, citing information released by the provincial government.

No pigs were reported sickened by Streptococcus suis, the bacteria blamed for the human cases, Xinhua said. It was not immediately clear how the people were infected, but the disease is usually passed on through contact with raw pork or sick swine.

On Sunday, China’s ministries of health and agriculture said an outbreak of the disease in Sichuan province, hundreds of miles northwest of Guangdong, had been brought under control.

At least 38 people died in the epidemic, which was first detected in June, mostly farmers who butchered or handled infected pigs. More than 200 people were sickened.

Pockets of infection have been reported elsewhere, and in June, two human cases were reported in Guangdong.

China’s south has been the breeding ground for diseases that jump between animals and humans because they often live near each other, including severe acute respiratory syndrome, which first emerged in Guangdong.

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