African Swine Fever In Northeast India, Wrecks Havoc In Mizoram

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It seems that Northeast India’s tussle with African Swine Fever or ASF is not over yet. After killing thousands of Pigs in 2020 in Assam it has turned its fangs towards Mizoram. The National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) of Indian Council of Agricultural Research in Bhopal has confirmed the recent deaths of Pigs in Mizoram to be caused by African Swine Fever (ASF)

ASF was first detected in Mizoram on March 21, 2021 at Lungsen village prompting creation of Rapid Response Teams in all the districts of the state by the Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Dept. On April 16, 2021 the  Chief Secretary of Mizoram was informed of the onset of the dreaded Swine disease after its confirmation.

Immediately the Mizoram Animal Husbandry & Veterinary department invoking “The Prevention and Control of Infectious and Contagious Diseases in Animals Act 2009” declared Lungsen as ‘Infected Zone’.

So far, ASF has been confirmed in 9 districts of Mizoram namely Siaha, Lawngtlai, Lunglei, Serchhip, Aizawl, Khawzawl, Hnahthial, Champhai and Mamit. Several localities of Capital Aizwal too have been declared as ‘Infected Zones’.

African Swine Fever was first detected in Kenya nearly hundred years back. Last year it took pockets of Arunachal Pradesh and whole of Assam under its grip. Thousands of pigs either died of the disease or were culled. The piggery sector of the neighboring state was crippled with entire pig farms becoming empty.

The scenario is getting repeated in Mizoram as well. Officials from Animal Husbandry & Veterinary department have informed that over Rs. 10 crores loss have been incurred by pig farmers in the state . Official records state that between March 21 and June 9, 2021, 5546 pigs have died from African swine fever.  Another 227 deaths of pigs are suspected of ASF as well.

African Swine Fever has no known cure as of yet. Neither it has any vaccine. Its mortality rate is nearly 100 %. Extremely contagious, once it infects one it spreads rapidly among the other swines as well. However it is not harmful to the humans but it is suspected that humans can be carriers. Veterinary protocol dictates that pigs dead of swine fever must be buried deep in the earth. The Mizoram state Veterinary Dept has advised the pig farmers to do so to stop the spread of the disease.

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