Authorities investigating a mysterious disease that has killed 17 people in southwestern China deny it is bird flu or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
The Sichuan health department told the China Daily newspaper that the disease was probably caused by a bacteria usually spread among pigs (streptococcus suis).
Initially, 20 farm workers around Jianyang city and Ziyang city suffered fever, nausea and hemorrhaging after handling sick or dead pigs. As of Saturday, health workers turned up 58 cases in Ziyang and Neijiang.
The World Health Organization said there was no sign of a massive outbreak of the unknown disease and that there did not seem to be any human-to-human transmission.