BEIJING (Reuters) – A new outbreak of African swine fever occurred on a farm in northern China’s Inner Mongolia, the agriculture ministry said on Monday, the second in the region, as the highly contagious disease continues to spread rapidly across the world’s top producer of pigs.

Eight hogs were dead and 14 were infected on the farm of 159 animals, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said on its website.

The outbreak is China’s 16th since early August, and comes despite a series of tough new rules announced by Beijing last week to tackle the spread.

China has now banned the transport of live hogs and pig products from regions bordering provinces that have reported swine fever outbreaks, as well as those that have had cases.

It has also banned the use of feed derived from pig blood, and banned the use of feeding kitchen waste in 16 provinces.

The new outbreak also comes just weeks ahead of a national holiday, causing concern in Beijing about pork supplies.

Still, there are also signs that consumers may be avoiding pork, even though African swine fever cannot infect people. Poultry prices have risen in recent weeks, in part because of the disease, industry officials said.

In an article on Monday, the state-backed People’s Daily reminded consumers that people could not catch the disease, and urged them not to believe rumors.

“Pork bought through standard channels must all go through inspection, the public does not need to worry,” it added.

(Reporting by Aizhu Chen and Dominique Patton; editing by David Evans)