- BEIJING (Reuters) - Many
frugal farmers in southwest China are refusing to bury infected pigs safely,
Chinese media said on Tuesday, raising fears that a deadly swine flu could
spread further after infecting almost 200 people and killing 36.
- Draconian measures were in place around the Chinese capital
to prevent infection. The Beijing News said city authorities had blocked
inward shipments of about 4,000 tonnes of pork and pork products from stricken
Sichuan province up to July 31.
- Many impoverished Sichuan farmers, having already bought
piglets, inoculation and feed, are refusing to spend more on burying sick
pigs with disinfectant. Instead, they slaughter them and eat the meat themselves.
- "Households are not following guidelines in dealing
with sick and dead pigs to prevent possible harm," the Beijing News
- Asked whether her family had followed government orders
to dispose of their sick pigs, the wife of farmer Liu Yanxue in Sichuan's
hard-hit Zizhong county reportedly told state television: "At any
rate, we didn't eat them".
- Zizhong health worker Wen Youhai had admitted to simply
taking farmers' word that they had properly handled sick pigs rathe than
observing burials in person, the daily said.
- The Health Ministry Web site, in its latest bulletin,
said two deaths and 17 infections with pig-borne bacteria Streptococcus
suis had been reported between Sunday and midday Monday in Sichuan.
- Health officials insist the outbreak is under control
and that the latest victims represented previously undiagnosed cases, not
new cases which would indicate the disease was spreading.
- A total of 198 people in 108 villages and townships in
Sichuan had contracted the disease, apparently from slaughtering, handling
or eating infected pigs, the ministry said.
- The official China Youth Daily published a picture of
a stall owner in Ziyang city, where the disease was first reported in June,
selling pork at a traditional market. The headline read: "Ziyang residents
dare to sell pork again."
- BIG PROFIT
- In one unconfirmed report, the Chongqing Evening News
said last week an unscrupulous meat dealer had dug up sick and dead pigs
he was forced by police to bury a day earlier and sold the meat in a nearby
town for a big profit.
- Sichuan has launched a campaign to educate illiterate
farmers and their children not to slaughter or eat sick pigs.
- The government has also vowed to punish officials caught
covering up or delaying reports on infections. Two officials and one health
inspector have already been sacked for negligence.
- While most of the infections have been found in Sichuan,
cases have also been reported in Guangdong province and neighbouring Hong
- Shipments of pork from Sichuan, China's top producer,
to Hong Kong have been stopped and the city has stepped up inspections
and quarantine procedures on all live pigs and frozen pork imported from
- Hong Kong health experts have confirmed the bacteria
as Streptococcus suis and found no evidence of any mutation, the South
China Morning Post said.
- In addition to Beijing, other Chinese cities have also
set up tight perimeter checks to block pork from Sichuan.
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