At a time when the country is battling out the Chinese pandemic coronavirus, the eight north-eastern states are staring at another new threat – African Swine Fever (ASF), which is suspected to be behind the mysterious deaths of thousands of pigs, reports Nagaland Post.
According to the animal resource experts in North East, the highly contagious ASF came to the region from Tibet in China through Arunachal Pradesh. Apart from Assam and Meghalaya, other states governments have also sounded a high alert and asked people, especially owners of piggeries, to refrain from transporting pigs across the states.
Assam Agriculture and Veterinary Minister Atul Bora said that more than 2,260 pigs have died in state’s six districts due to suspected ASF. The authorities have sent samples to the National Institute of High-Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal and are waiting for confirmatory reports.
Bora said, “The pigs are dying of a foreign virus and we guess that it may have come from Tibet in China.”
According to animal resource experts, pigs generally are affected by Classical Fever, Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS), besides the ASF.
Assam bans pork sale in affected districts, closes slaughter houses
Minister Bora stated that the ASF is being reported in the Dhemaji, Sivsagar, Lakhimpur, Jorhat, Dibrugarh and Biswanath districts. From 1964 on April 25, the death toll has reached 2262 in Assam in just three days.
The state of Assam has now banned the purchase and sale of pigs and pork in the affected districts, closed slaughterhouses and has banned movements from pig farms.
Meghalaya bans transportation of pigs
The Meghalaya government has already banned the transport of pigs from outside the state after the deaths of pigs in some districts of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
On Wednesday, Meghalaya’s Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong said that the state issued a notification to ban ferrying of pigs from other states. A notification has been issued to all government and private pig farms and pig owners to take adequate and strict measures for hygiene and bio-security and restrict outsiders’ entry to pig farms.
“We have advised people to consume adequately cooked pork only (above 70 degrees celsius for at least 20 minutes),” the Deputy Chief Minister, who is in charge of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Department said.
Tripura, Nagaland on high-alert
Meanwhile, Tripura’s Animal Resources Development Department Director and Additional Secretary Dilip Chakma said that after ASF outbreak in six districts of Assam and nine districts of Arunachal Pradesh, his department has alerted all government and private pig firms and pig owners to take adequate measures to prevent the disease.
Even Nagaland, in view of the reported outbreak of African Swine Fever, the state government has imposed a ban on import of pigs from outside the state with immediate effect.