Chinese authorities say they have identified the virulent disease that appeared in Sichuan province in late June, which has sickened a suspected 212 people so far and killed 38: Streptococcus suis, a bacteria in pigs that very rarely infects human beings. Last week, a team of experts from Hong Kong who assisted in the investigation backed the diagnosis. “All the evidence collected at this stage showed that the infections were caused by Streptococcus suis,” said Dr. Lam Ping-yan, Hong Kong’s Director of Health.
But some international specialists aren’t convinced. Strep. suis has never caused an outbreak anywhere near as large as the one in Sichuan, and the high mortality rate and severe symptoms”which include bleeding under the skin in some cases”seem to be entirely new.