01 April 1999
Death toll rises despite Malaysian slaughter

THE slaughter of more than a million pigs is continuing in Malaysia as five more people died from the swine-borne virus that has claimed 76 lives and ruined farmers.

The deaths came as the government dispatched soldiers and police to exterminate 1.3m pigs to prevent the virus spreading.

The five new victims, who were all pig farmers, are believed to have died from Japanese encephalitis and a new strain of the Hendra virus.

Encephalitis can be harboured by pigs and passed on to humans via the culex mosquito.

The Hendra virus is said to be transmitted to humans through direct contact with the blood, urine or faeces of infected swine.

The outbreak has devastated the countrys $400m (US$645m) pork industry, which is among the biggest in the world and employs 300,000 people.