Mysterious disease kills 31 in China's Sichuan province

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Thursday, July 28, 2005

Chinese officials have ceased the export of pork from two cities after at least 31 individuals died and 152 were taken ill after contracting a mysterious disease related to pigs. China leads the world in the production of pork products.

Symptoms of the illness include fatigue, headache, high fever, vomiting, and eventually coma. Subcutaneous bruising has also been observed in some patients.

Initial reports indicated that those becoming sick had recently butchered sick sheep or pigs. Lab tests in China have revealed that victims may be suffering an infection of Streptococcus suis -- a bacteria found in many pork producing countries.

Serious cases of Streptococcus suis infection can lead to coma and eventually meningitis. Thus far, no human-to-human transmissions have been observed.