Aizawl: At least 87 pigs have died of an unknown disease at Lungsen village in south Mizoram‘s Lunglei district near Bangladesh border causing a monetary loss to the tune of Rs 40 lakh since March, an official of state animal husbandry and the veterinary department said on Sunday.

“Though the cause of pig deaths is yet to be ascertained, it is highly suspected to be caused by African Swine Fever (ASF),” the department’s joint director (livestock health division) Dr Lalhmingthanga said.

He said that the first pig death was reported at Lungsen village on March 21 following which veterinary officers were sent to the village to ascertain the cause of death.

As per the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests on tissue samples and serum sample of dead pigs done at epidemiological centre and College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry in Aizawl, the pigs were confirmed free of Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) and Classical Swine Flu (CSF), he said.

Although the confirmatory test for ASF is yet to be done at National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) in Madhya Pradesh, preliminary tested will be done at the College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry on Monday to ascertain whether or not the dead pigs are suspected to be infected with AFS, the official said. 

According to Lalhmingthanga, the government has already sounded alert for AFS in the state and declared Lungsen village as an infected area and a prohibitory order was clamped under Section 144 on April 2.

Though the actual disease is yet to be confirmed, a preventive measure is being taken in accordance with the ASF Prevention and Containment National Action Plan as a precautionary measure, he said.

He said that an investigation team led by animal husbandry and veterinary (disease investigation nad epidemiology) deputy director Dr M Zohmingthangi will pay a visit to Lungsen village on Monday to stake stock of the situation.

The team will collect tissue and blood samples to be sent to outside the state for a test, he said.

Lalhmingthanga also said that the pig disease was suspected to be transmitted through the import of pigs and smoked pig meat from neighbouring states and countries like Bangladesh.  

He added that the first pig death was reported near hotels where imported pig meats were largely consumed.

Mizoram was hit by PRRS in 2013, 2016, 2018 and 2020 killing thousands of pigs and piglets causing a loss to the tune of Rs 10.62 crore.

So far, the state has not reported any outbreak of African Swine Fever.



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