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China Completes Gene Sequence of Deadly Pig Bacteria

Chinese scientists have completed genetic sequencing of the bacteria which is confirmed the ultimate cause of a strange pig-to-human infection, that had killed 27 people in southwest China's Sichuan Province by Wednesday.


The gene sequencing test shows the bacteria, streptococcus suis, has exactly the same gene sequence in sick pigs and humans, said Xu Jianguo, an epidemic prevention expert with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.


Starting from July 19, researchers from the center have separated the bacteria from sick pigs as well as the blood and spleen samples of villagers stricken by the strange disease, Xu said.


Xu and his colleagues are carrying out further research to study how closely the bacteria from pigs and human is genetically correlated in order to find molecular biological evidences of how the disease spreads from pig to human.


By Wednesday noon, the number of people infected with the bacteria had reached 131, 14 more than the day before, Ministry of Health said.


Although most cases were reported in the cities of Ziyang and Neijiang, six towns in other parts of Sichuan reported six human infection cases Wednesday, according to a statement from the ministry.


Leading veterinary experts and officials have moved to dispel public fear, saying China has the technology to control the outbreak, which poses no permanent threat to either livestock breeding industry or human beings.


"We have the technology and procedures to bring the disease under control," Thursday's China Daily quoted a Ministry of Agriculture official, as saying.


The official said, under anonymous condition, that China had developed pig vaccines.


(Xinhua News Agency July 28, 2005)



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