Shillong, May 27: In a concerning development, the African Swine Fever (ASF) has claimed the lives of 117 pigs across four districts in Meghalaya, according to officials from the Veterinary and Animal Husbandry department. The affected districts include West Garo Hills, East Khasi Hills, Ri-Bhoi, and West Khasi Hills.

The government farms in Dalu and Pynursla witnessed a significant number of pig deaths, with 50 and 5 pigs respectively succumbing to the disease. In addition, reports indicate that 40 pigs died in eight villages in Ri-Bhoi and 22 pigs in Nongstoin town of West Khasi Hills district.

Dr. Manjunatha C, the secretary of the Veterinary and Animal Husbandry department, confirmed that the pigs tested positive for ASF. The deaths occurred over the past month, leading to concerns about the spread of the disease.

In response to the outbreak, the department issued instructions under the Prevention and Control of Infectious and Contagious Diseases in Animals Act, 2009. The measures include a ban on the slaughter and movement of pigs, as well as supplies in the affected villages and within a 10-kilometer radius.

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The affected villages within a 1-kilometer radius of the infected premises are designated as “Infected Zone,” while those within a 10-kilometer radius are designated as “Surveillance Zone.” Movement of pigs is permitted within the surveillance zone, but they are not allowed to enter the infected zones. Furthermore, handlers are prohibited from moving to other pig sheds.

The Veterinary Department is taking proactive steps to contain the outbreak and prevent further spread of ASF. The situation is being closely monitored, and efforts are being made to educate and raise awareness among pig farmers and communities about the necessary precautions to be taken.

With over 3.85 lakh registered pigs in the state, the authorities are emphasizing the importance of early detection, reporting, and implementing biosecurity measures to safeguard the pig population from the highly contagious ASF.

The government is working in collaboration with veterinary experts and local communities to combat the disease and minimize its impact on the pig farming sector, which is an important source of livelihood for many in the state.

Efforts are underway to implement effective surveillance, testing, and containment strategies to protect the pig population and mitigate the economic and social consequences of the outbreak.