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500 Recover From Pork Poisoning

More than 500 victims of pork poisoning in Heyuan of South China's Guangdong Province are said to be in a stable condition or recovering in local hospitals. They were struck down on Wednesday.

Huang Juping, an official from Heyuan municipal government, said some patients who suffered mildly had been discharged from hospital.

All the victims are suspected to have eaten poisonous pork purchased from local bazaars on Wednesday.

The meat is suspected to have come from local pigs fed with a particular medicine to curb asthma.

To help establish the cause of the poisoning, Heyuan government has banned sales of pork in the whole city for three days, to end today, for further investigation, Huang said. All the pork suspected of being poisonous has been secured.

The investigation's findings will be made public in three days, Huang said.

To date, it is the biggest pork poisoning case to have taken place in the southern Chinese province, which borders Hong Kong and Macao. Heyuan is about 200 km northeast of Guangzhou, the provincial capital.

The victims' symptoms encompassed vomiting, headache and a rapid heart beat, following breakfast and lunch on Wednesday morning.

They gradually made their way to hospitals to see doctors from around 9:30 am.

By late Thursday, hospitals had received more than 500 poisoned patients. Doctors said the illness is only life-threatening if hospital treatment is not received in time.

The municipal government has established a medical group, headed by Heyuan Mayor Huang Yuzhen, to help rescue the victims.

Local government has jointly set up a task force to help investigate the case.

So far, no suspects have been detained.

(China Daily November 9, 2001)

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