May 7, 2007 / 5:02 AM / in 11 years

Mystery disease kills pigs in Southern China: press

HONG KONG (Reuters) - A mysterious disease has killed thousands of pigs in China’s southern Guangdong province and authorities have disinfected affected farms, markets and abattoirs, several Hong Kong newspapers reported on Monday.

Pigs are seen at a hog pen in Jiaxing, eastern China's Zhejiang province, in this September 16,2006 file photo. A mysterious disease has killed thousands of pigs in China's southern Guangdong province and authorities have disinfected affected farms, markets and abattoirs, several Hong Kong newspapers reported on Monday. REUTERS/Stringer

The outbreak began around early April in Silao town, where the animals stopped eating, developed high fevers and started hemorrhaging under their skin.

The disease has since spread to nearby towns, they reported. Its cause is unknown.

Beijing-backed Ta Kung Pao quoted officials in nearby Yunfu city confirming that more than 300 pigs had died in Silao town.

Some of the carcasses were hurled into rivers and that may have been responsible for the spread of the disease to surrounding areas, other newspapers reported, with some estimating total losses at more than 3,000 animals.

Faced with heavy financial losses, some farmers have hastily sold sick pigs at reduced prices, the Apple Daily reported.

Although the cause of the disease is unknown, experts ruled out the possibility of people contracting the disease.

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