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Tens of thousands of piglets die of diarrhea in Southern Taiwan

TAIPEI--Tens of thousands of piglets in Southern Taiwan have died of diarrhea over the past few weeks, but pork prices will not be affected, farmers said yesterday, just days before the Lunar New Year holiday.

More than 13,000 piglets in Yunlin County have died of diarrhea since December, the Yunlin county government said.

Although prices at the moment are unaffected, pork supplies could be impacted in the second half of the year, according to the swine association in Yunlin.

Pork is one of the most important ingredients in Lunar New Year dishes.

Yunlin's Animal and Plant Disease Control Center said it has urged pig farmers to strengthen sterilization measures and raise temperatures in their piggeries to combat the disease.

Diarrhea is a common disease that affects piglets that are less than a few weeks old. Up to 40 percent of Yunlin's piglets have died since the outbreak began, the center said.

The disease, which is caused by a virus, can not be transmitted to humans, the Yunlin county government's Agriculture Department said.

The disease is also affecting almost every pig farm in Pingtung County, southern Taiwan, Pingtung's swine association said.

The fatality rate among piglets there is around 70 percent, the association said.

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