African Swine Fever (ASF) continues to wreak havoc in Mizoram, with 10 out of 11 districts currently affected by the dreaded swine fever. Over 9,000 pigs have died in three months, according to the state’s animal husbandry and veterinary science department.
According to data released by the department on Sunday, at least 152 villages or local areas in 10 districts are currently affected by ASF, which has claimed a total of 9,172 pigs since March, causing monetary losses to the tune of over Rs. 36.68 crore.
Besides, the unusual death of 699 pigs was reported outside ASF infected areas, it said. Though the cause of death is suspected to be ASF, it is yet to be confirmed, the department added.
The official data also said that 1,078 pigs have been culled so far to prevent the disease from spreading further.
The first pig death due to an unknown disease was reported at Lungsen village in south Mizoram’s Lunglei district bordering Bangladesh on March 21.
After testing negative for Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) and Classical Swine Flu (CSF), the pig samples were sent to the National Institute of High-Security Animal Disease (NIHSAD) in Bhopal, which confirmed the cause of pig deaths as “ASF” on April 16.
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Though the spread of ASF in Lunglei district now became less severe, it began to ravage Aizawl district, which borne the brunt of the pig disease with 3,454 pig deaths so far, according to the department joint director (livestock health) Dr Lalhmingthanga.
So far, the ASF has killed 3,092 pigs in Lunglei district, 684 in Mamit district, 939 in Serchhip district, 320 in Lawngtlai district, 334 in Khawzawl district, 83 in Hnahthial district, 257 in Champhai district, 8 in Saitual district and 1 in Siaha district, he said.
Only Kolasib, which borders Assam, is the ASF-free district in the state, he said. Lalhmingthanga said that a special diseases investigation team, which visited Lungsen village during April 5-8 found that pigs are illegally imported from Bangladesh through villages like Tipperaghat and Khojoysury located near the Bangladesh border.
Illegal pig traders use Lungsen village as a stock point for keeping the animals before moving them to Lunglei market, he said.
He said that the president of the Rolui village council informed that the outbreak of an unknown disease killed several pigs in Bangladesh villages along the India border in February 2021.
Lalhmingthanga further said that the ASF outbreak in Aizawl district and east Mizoram’s Champhai district is believed to be caused by pigs or pork imported from Meghalaya and Myanmar respectively.
He added that the state government will urge the Centre to give compensations to the culled pigs.