China Farmers Ignore
Swine Flu Hygiene Orders

BEIJING (Reuters) - Many frugal farmers in southwest China are refusing to bury infected pigs safely, Chinese media said on Tuesday, raising fears that a deadly swine flu could spread further after infecting almost 200 people and killing 36.
Draconian measures were in place around the Chinese capital to prevent infection. The Beijing News said city authorities had blocked inward shipments of about 4,000 tonnes of pork and pork products from stricken Sichuan province up to July 31.
Many impoverished Sichuan farmers, having already bought piglets, inoculation and feed, are refusing to spend more on burying sick pigs with disinfectant. Instead, they slaughter them and eat the meat themselves.
"Households are not following guidelines in dealing with sick and dead pigs to prevent possible harm," the Beijing News said.
Asked whether her family had followed government orders to dispose of their sick pigs, the wife of farmer Liu Yanxue in Sichuan's hard-hit Zizhong county reportedly told state television: "At any rate, we didn't eat them".
Zizhong health worker Wen Youhai had admitted to simply taking farmers' word that they had properly handled sick pigs rathe than observing burials in person, the daily said.
The Health Ministry Web site, in its latest bulletin, said two deaths and 17 infections with pig-borne bacteria Streptococcus suis had been reported between Sunday and midday Monday in Sichuan.
Health officials insist the outbreak is under control and that the latest victims represented previously undiagnosed cases, not new cases which would indicate the disease was spreading.
A total of 198 people in 108 villages and townships in Sichuan had contracted the disease, apparently from slaughtering, handling or eating infected pigs, the ministry said.
The official China Youth Daily published a picture of a stall owner in Ziyang city, where the disease was first reported in June, selling pork at a traditional market. The headline read: "Ziyang residents dare to sell pork again."
In one unconfirmed report, the Chongqing Evening News said last week an unscrupulous meat dealer had dug up sick and dead pigs he was forced by police to bury a day earlier and sold the meat in a nearby town for a big profit.
Sichuan has launched a campaign to educate illiterate farmers and their children not to slaughter or eat sick pigs.
The government has also vowed to punish officials caught covering up or delaying reports on infections. Two officials and one health inspector have already been sacked for negligence.
While most of the infections have been found in Sichuan, cases have also been reported in Guangdong province and neighbouring Hong Kong.
Shipments of pork from Sichuan, China's top producer, to Hong Kong have been stopped and the city has stepped up inspections and quarantine procedures on all live pigs and frozen pork imported from the mainland.
Hong Kong health experts have confirmed the bacteria as Streptococcus suis and found no evidence of any mutation, the South China Morning Post said.
In addition to Beijing, other Chinese cities have also set up tight perimeter checks to block pork from Sichuan.
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