Citizens were concerned if pork could be consumed with the outbreak of ASF Credit: File image

Shillong: The recent outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) and suspected cases of Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) in Meghalaya has led to concerns about possible transmission between animals and humans. Dr DI Kjam, assistant director (disease investigation) in the animal husbandry and veterinary department, clarified that these diseases are not zoonotic and cannot be transmitted from animals to humans.

Dr Kjam said, “The virus which causes Lumpy Skin Disease is not a zoonotic one. Even if it is a confirmed case, the point about meat consumption does not arise. However, the meat needs to be cooked properly.”

The state has yet to confirm the suspected cases of Lumpy Skin Disease at Ri-Bhoi district since the reports are awaited.

“Three samples have been collected from the area — two of the cattle and one from skin scraping. The same has been sent to the North Eastern Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Khanapara and from there they will send it to Bhopal. They will be able to confirm if there is a Lumpy Skin Disease in the state,” informed Dr Kjam.

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On August 27, the government had declared 19 villages as epicentres of ASF disease. Dr Kjam informed that Lamin village which was one of the epicentres and a few other villages have not recorded any more death of pigs. The department has now given the village the authority to slaughter pigs and has lifted the restriction of movement of pigs from one district to another.

Dr Kjam informed that they have been able to contain the outbreak of ASF but the state is not yet free from the disease since a few more samples tested positive for ASF. He said that the last sample sent for testing was on September 4 and a few of these samples have tested positive for ASF.

“So far there have been no more deaths of pig reported in the state due to ASF. To declare that we have been able to completely contain the disease is only after 45 days wherein all the samples test negative for ASF that is when we can declare the state free from ASF,” said Dr Kjam.

When asked what precautionary measures the farmers or people rearing cattle can take if they suspect LSD, Dr Kjam said, “As soon as they observe a suspected case they are advised to immediately inform their concerned veterinary doctor nearby. Secondly, they are to separate the cattle suspected of having the disease from the healthy one since direct contact of animals can spread. Thirdly they should take precautionary measure like some antibiotic course and this will be provided by the concerned veterinary doctor they meet.”

He added that the same measures should be followed concerning ASF.

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