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'Blue Ear' Pig Disease Found in Shanxi
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An outbreak of blue ear disease has been detected among pigs in north China's Shanxi province, about 550 kilometers west of Beijing, the Ministry of Agriculture revealed on Friday.

The ministry refused to give any details when contacted by Xinhua, saying it would hold a news conference on Monday.

Including Shanxi, 26 provincial-level regions have now reported outbreaks of blue ear disease this year.

The deadly disease had killed more than 40,000 pigs in China by July this year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, and forced the authorities to destroy thousands more.

The central government has ordered local authorities to vaccinate livestock against major diseases such as blue ear disease and swine fever, the cost of which is to be shared evenly by the central and local finance.

All pigs entering the markets of Beijing and Shanghai had to be fitted with electronic tags from August 1, a livestock disease tracking mechanism enforced by the government to ensure a supply of clean and healthy meat. Other regions will follow in November.

(Xinhua News Agency August 17, 2007)

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