Chinese pig disease toll hits 24
Pigs are thought to be the source of the mystery illness.
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BEIJING, China (CNN) -- The death toll from a mysterious disease apparently carried by pigs has reached 24, China's official Xinhua news agency has reported.
Doctors have not found specific drugs to treat the disease, which broke out June 24 in the cities of Ziyang and Neijiang in Sichuan Province.
The country's Ministry of Health has blamed Streptococcus suis, a bacteria carried by pigs, for the malady, the news agency said.
The number of human cases has risen to 117 -- 76 confirmed cases and 41 suspected infections, Xinhua said.
Twenty-one people were in critical condition as of Wednesday.
Doctors have been relying on large doses of antibiotics to treat patients, but as the death toll mounts "it is clear this approach is unsatisfactory," Xinhua said.
Ministry of Health spokesman Mao Qun'an told the news agency the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention was conducting drug sensitivity tests to find an effective treatment for the disease.
Despite the lack of one, however, experts believe the outbreak is under control, the news agency said.
Chen Huanchun, vice-president of Huazhong (Central China) Agricultural University, told Xinhua pig-to-human infection can be prevented if people refrain from slaughtering, processing or eating infected pigs.
Measures have been undertaken to trace the disease and stop the sale and transport of infected pigs.
In Ziyang and Neijiang, 469 infected pigs have been buried, Xinhua reported.
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