(Updates with Mexican ministry clarification that 770 pigs were dead, not killed by authorities)
PARIS, May 22 (Reuters) - Mexico reported outbreaks of a deadly pig virus in 17 states out of 19 tested, the World Animal Health Organization (OIE) said on Thursday.
Following reports of unusually high mortality, mainly in piglets, in the central-western part of the country, Mexican veterinary officials tested 2,309 samples between August 2013 and May 2014 in farms and slaughterhouses, the Mexican agriculture ministry told the OIE.
These showed that 30 percent were positive for the deadly Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv), suggesting that there may be some other causative agent involved in this event, the ministry said.
Mexico has 31 states plus the federal district of Mexico.
The country, which has around 16 million pigs, has banned imports of live pigs from the United States since last June, the Mexican ministry said. It added that Mexican authorities had found the virus in 770 dead pigs since it was detected.
The ministry earlier said the infected pigs had been killed.
The virus has killed around 7 million young pigs since it was first identified in the United States almost a year ago, sending pork prices rocketing.
The Mexican states where positive PEDv cases were identified were: Aguascalientes, Baja California, Colima, Federal District, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Jalisco, State of Mexico, Michoacan, Morelos, Nuevo Leon, Puebla, Queretaro, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tlaxcala and Veracruz, the ministry said.
Samples from the States of Yucatan and of Oaxaca were negative for the disease.
The ministry said that, to date, it had not been possible to isolate the virus.
Countries are obliged to report outbreaks of PEDv to the World Animal Health Organization. (Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide; Additional reporting by Adriana Barrera in Mexico City; Editing by Keiron Henderson, Pravin Char, Andrew Hay and Cynthia Osterman)