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Tests on pig for foot-mouth disease turn out negative

WASHINGTON — Tests on a pig from a North Carolina packing plant suspected of having foot-and-mouth disease turned out negative, the Agriculture Department said Friday.

Another sample taken from a separate market was being tested.

"This is something that is not uncommon," said department spokesman Kevin Herglotz. About 700 such tests are done annually, according to the department.

The United States has not had a confirmed case of foot-and-mouth since 1929, but federal and state officials frequently test animals that exhibit symptoms similar to those caused by the disease, including blisters on the hooves and mouth.

"Whenever we get a suspect case we take it very seriously," Herglotz said.

Tissue samples from a dead hog were flown Thursday night from a packing plant in Robersonville, 78 miles east of Raleigh, said Jim Knight, a spokesman for the state Agriculture Department.

A state agriculture inspector at the packing plant contacted a U.S. inspector, and samples were flown to a federal lab on Plum Island, off Long Island, N.Y., the only facility where foot-and-mouth testing is done.

Another sample was taken from a Sampson County market, southeast of Raleigh, and also sent to the federal lab, Knight said.

He said the packing plant and the Sampson County market may have been served by the same trucking company.

The Robersonville plant was quarantined.