BEIJING, July 27 -- China's Ministry of Health says 117 people have been infected by a mysterious disease related to a pig bacteria in Sichuan Province.
The ministry said Tuesday that among these people, 24 have died, 21 are in critical condition and five have recovered.
Earlier, the ministry's spokesman Mao Quanan said laboratory tests showed the affected people were suffering from "streptococcus suis" infections contracted from the slaughtering or handling of infected pigs.
The spokesman noted no cases of human-to-human infections had been reported.
He also cast doubt on speculation the bacteria could be spread by mosquitos.
The provincial and central government have strengthened measures to identify and destroy infected pigs and shut down channels for the bacteria to spread, including forbidding farmers from slaughtering or processing infected pigs.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization affirmed that the disease was unrelated to bird flu or SARS.