African Fever

Agartala, April 19: As African Swine Fever (ASF) continues to wreak havoc in Mizoram, cases of the livestock disease have now been detected in Tripura. Cases of ASF were detected in livestock at the Animal Resources Development Department (ARDD)-run government breeding farm located at Devipur under Sepahijala district of Tripura, top sources in the department told to media.

At least 16 more pigs died of African swine fever in Mizoram taking the state’s total death tally of pigs to 770 in just over two months.

Following the disease spread in Tripura, a team of experts from Agartala’s disease investigation Centre reached the farm affected. The experts formed rapid response teams to handle the situation before any further spread.

“On April 7, three samples were sent to North Eastern Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory for testing. On April 13, last we received the PCR report that confirmed that all the samples were positive,” a senior official in the Animal Husbandry Department run disease investigation laboratory told media.

As per the source, Farmworkers have been advised to deal with the disease first and foremost.

We have formed two task forces, each with ten people. The teams will be led by a veterinary officer and will report directly to the nodal officer panel. Dr. Mrinal Dutta, in charge of the ARDD’s Disease Investigation Laboratory, and SDM Bishalgarh have been added to the team of nodal officers.

In the first phase, 8-foot-by-8-foot graves were dug to bury infected pigs after mass execution. Furthermore, all of the pigs are raised on a private basis.

“To stop the spread of the disease, pigs within a one-kilometer radius of the farm will be executed and buried. We are attempting to keep the disease contained within the farm and its environs so that the virus does not spread throughout the state,” the sources said.

When asked about official confirmation, sources said that according to the procedure, the laboratory authorities will write a letter to the Government of India, and the Centre will notify the Chief Secretary.

“All subsequent proceedings can only take place once the official letter reaches the state government,” he added.

According to officials, 63 mature pigs died for unknown reasons, causing concern. Prior to the outbreak, the farm’s pig shed housed 265 mature pigs and 185 piglets.

At least 16 more pigs died of African Swine Fever in Mizoram with the toll due to the disease rising to 770 in the state in a little over two months, an official said. At least 124 pigs have been culled to prevent the spread of the infection since February this year, he said.

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Besides, 205 pigs have died due to suspected African Swine Fever. At least 17 villages in Aizawl, Champhai, Lunglei, and Saitual districts have been affected due to the outbreak, animal husbandry and veterinary department joint director Dr. Lalhmingthanga said.

The state government is making efforts to prevent the spread of the pig disease as per the ‘National Action Plan for Control, Containment and Eradication of African Swine Fever,’ he said. Mizoram has already banned the import of pigs and pork products from other states after ASF cases broke out this year.

Altogether 33,417 pigs had died due to the outbreak of ASF last year, causing monetary losses to the tune of Rs 60.82 crore. The infectious disease was reported for the first time in the state in March last year.