Pork recalled in Hong Kong while authorities battle to control yet another outbreak of disease

The media in Hong Kong have reported over 1,270 kilograms of pork has been recalled in the southern city of Shenzhen.

China, which is battling yet another outbreak of disease, has been battling to contain an outbreak of swine flu since last month.

To date the pig-borne disease, caused by the Streptococcus suis bacteria, has infected more than 200 people in China's southwest province of Sichuan and killed 39.

The outbreak has killed around 650 pigs in Sichuan, but instead of disposing them, many poor farmers ate and even sold them.

It appears that all those who contracted the disease in Sichuan had slaughtered, handled or eaten infected pigs.

On Saturday authorities began recalling the batch of pork, which originated from central Henan province, from two Shenzhen markets.

Local media reported the move but it has not been explained why the meat was being recalled.

Authorities in Hong Kong, which is just south of Shenzhen, have said they are contacting health authorities in China for comment on the reports.

Apparently officials in Shenzhen have posted notices at housing estates which promise to refund residents who surrender pork that they bought from the two markets.

It is also claimed that those who had already eaten the meat were ordered to register their names, but were not told why.

Although the outbreak was first reported in June, it did not surface in the Chinese media until almost a month later.

Streptococcus suis, or swine flu, is endemic in most pig-rearing countries, but human infections are rare.

China's state media have said repeatedly, that no human-to-human infections have been found in Sichuan, but by any standards, the infection rate and death toll is considered unusually high, and some experts have questioned that it is indeed swine flu.

The outbreak has made residents in nearby Hong Kong extremely nervous, particularly because three infections have been reported there since the outbreak in mainland China began, and apparently none of those affected had been to China recently.

China has suspended exports of Sichuan pork to Hong Kong, and sales of pork, which is China's most popular meat, have fallen sharply.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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