Aizawl: A laboratory test has confirmed that African Swine Fever (ASF) was the main cause of death of nearly 700 pigs in three Mizoram districts, an official of the state’s animal husbandry and veterinary department said on Tuesday.
However, a formal declaration from a concerned authority is awaited, he said.
Joint director (livestock health) Dr Lalhmingthanga said that samples were sent to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) in Bhopal on April 8 for a confirmatory test.
“Although the government of India is yet to formally declare what type of the swine fever it exactly is, the pig samples have already tested positive for ASF at the NIHSAD. Genome sequencing is being undertaken to identify the strain (serotype) of the virus,” Lalhmingthanga said, quoting sources in NIHSAD.
He said that the final declaration from the Centre is expected by Wednesday or Thursday.
The official said the state government has no authority to declare the cause of pig deaths even though a preliminary test in the state has already pointed to ASF.
A confirmation is required from NIHSAD and the government of India will eventually notify the swine fever (if it is ASF) as per World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) norms because it affects the international trade, he said.
According to him, at least 694 pigs have died of the virus since March 21, when the first death was reported at Lungsen village in south Mizoram’s Lunglei district near the Bangladesh border.
He said that the state government has already declared two villages, Lungsen and Zawlnuam in Mamit district, which shares border with Tripura, one locality in Lunglei town — Electrict Veng — and two localities in Aizawl — Edenthar Veng and Arm Veng — as “infected areas” to prevent the further spread of the virus to the neighbouring villages.
The entire Lunglei district, which is the worst hit, has also been declared as “surveillance zone” in order to contain and prevent the spread of the present outbreak.
So far, at least 451 pigs have died in Lunglei district, 124 in Mamit and 119 in Aizawl district, he said.
Lalhmingthanga said that a complaint has been lodged as the prevailing swine fever is believed to be transmitted through pigs or processed meat illegally imported from neighbouring states or countries.
He added that the state government is making efforts to prevent the virus from spreading further to other areas and to contain the outbreak.
Meanwhile, a meeting of veterinary officials over the prevailing swine fever convened by state animal husbandry and veterinary minister K Beichhua on Tuesday stressed the need for concerted efforts from the general public to contain the virus.
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