BEIJING, Jan 10 (Reuters) - China, the world's largest pork producer, has found foot-and-mouth disease among pigs in the central province of Hubei, the Ministry of Agriculture said on Tuesday.
The virus was detected in 24 live pigs in the county of Badong on Dec. 27 and all the sick pigs along with another 71 raised together have been culled, the ministry said, adding that the epidemic is under control.
Foot-and-mouth disease is a highly infectious and sometimes fatal disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals. Spread of the disease could cause severe plague for animal breeding.
China's hog herd is often hit with diseases, including also blue-ear disease, which was widespread in 2008 and led to pork shortages and surging meat prices.
An outbreak of the epidemic could also lead to breeders to restocking less later after a large number of pigs are slaughtered before the Lunar New Year, which starts on Jan. 23.
(Reporting by Niu Shuping and Ken Wills; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)