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Health Minister Inspects Sichuan Province

Minster of Health Gao Qiang arrived in southwest China's Sichuan Province Thursday to inspect the prevention and control of the pig-borne epidemic.

The emergency response system has been working effectively since the epidemic broke out. So far, the epidemic has been under control on the whole, said Gao after visiting patients and health workers in Ziyang City.

The cause of the epidemic and the means of infection have been clarified, therefore health and agricultural departments should take joint actions to minimize the epidemic to secure people's health and lives, he said.

Meanwhile, Gao said publicity and education of forbidding killing, processing, transporting and selling sick pigs should be strengthened in rural areas. Every infected person must be given timely treatment.

The reporting of the epidemic and the progress of prevention and control must be concise and open to the public, he noted.

The death toll of the bacteria Streptococcus suis infection in Sichuan Province reached 31 as of 12 a.m. Thursday, according to latest report released by the Ministry of Health.

The province has had 152 reported cases, including 106 confirmed cases and 46 suspected ones. Seven people have been discharged from hospital and 27 others are in critical condition.

The epidemic broke out in late June in cities and counties including Ziyang City, Jianyang City, Lezhi County and Zizhong County in Neijiang City. All the patients had killed or had direct contact with ill or dead pigs.

(Xinhua News Agency July 29, 2005)

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