28 June 2000
Malaysia fears return of pig plague

MALAYSIANS fear a deadly pig virus which last year killed 105 people and undermined the countrys pork and grain industries has returned.

Vets have found traces of the Nipah virus in samples from two pig farms but deny there is a new outbreak, reports the Financial Times.

But many people fear the government is trying to avoid a panic as people who come into contact with infected animals can contract deadly encephalitis.

Last year the government was accused of reacting too slowly to the crisis, and in the end had to destroy a million pigs to contain the outbreak.

More than half of the countrys 1770 pig farms closed as a result of the outbreak and imports plummeted as consumers shunned pork, despite being told it posed no risk.