Health officials are seeking postmortem on Hong Kong man to find possible link Health officials want a postmortem examination carried out on a pig farmer who died mysteriously from acute pneumonia earlier this month to establish if the case was related to two other deaths. The Centre for Health Protection is still investigating the cause of death of three pig farmers, two from Hong Kong and one from Guangdong. A 44-year-old pig farmer surnamed Sin died from pneumonia this month, as did another farmer, surnamed Yip, 62, in June. Both had visited the mainland before their deaths, with Sin travelling to Dongguan and Yip visiting Shenzhen. A pig farmer from Nanhai in Foshan , Guangdong, also died from pneumonia on Tuesday. Both Sin and the mainland farmer tested negative for Sars and bird flu. So far seven people have called a government hotline, set up on Thursday, with one 42-year-old slaughterhouse worker reporting that he had pneumonia in September and was admitted to Northern Hospital. He has since recovered. Speaking after meeting other government departments to discuss the investigation, Centre for Health Protection consultant Thomas Tsang Ho-fai said the investigation would take a month or more. However, initial findings showed the two local cases may not be linked and the centre had less than a 50 per cent chance of identifying the viruses. Centre controller Leung Pak-yin yesterday said a postmortem examination would provide important information. 'If there is one, we can look at the pathology of the lung tissues and find out more about the disease. We are still in discussions with the family,' he said. Sin's funeral is to take place early next week. The centre yesterday told public and private doctors to report hospital admissions involving pig farmers diagnosed with pneumonia. Dr Tsang said past records had shown that viruses had been identified in only 40 per cent of serious community pneumonia infections. The centre will hold a seminar for pig farmers on the latest situation. Chan Kin-yip, chairman of the association for development of the pig rearing industry, said pig farmers were not particularly scared. The Nanhai District Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said it had begun questioning the family of the dead farmer on Thursday after reading media reports. Guo Zhihua , 48, came down with a fever and cough on December 16 and was admitted to Foshan No1 People's Hospital four days later. He died last Tuesday from what the hospital described as serious pneumonia. '[The cause of death] was confirmed by our Foshan experts,' a hospital staff member said yesterday. 'Guo had no chance to become infected with [the pig bacterium] Streptococcus suis because there were no wounds on his hands or feet,' a worker at the Nanhai centre said. She said the four members of Guo's immediate family were well and health authorities were monitoring their condition closely.