Agartala: The Animal Husbandry department of Tripura has sounded alarm after samples from a government farm sent to the North Eastern Regional Disease Diagnostic Lab for PCR test showed positive results for African Swine Flu.
The highly contagious disease had already ravaged neighboring Mizoram, causing deaths of hundreds of pigs, said a senior official of the department on anonymity.
The samples were sent on April 7 and the report reached Tripura on April 13. A team of experts headed by ARDD (Animal Resource Development Department) department’s Disease Investigation Laboratory visited the farm located at Devipur village under Sepahijala district to inspect the ground situation.
“Confirmation of the outbreak came on April 13. Symptoms in the now sheltered pigs at the farm indicate that the remaining ones are also infected. Another report that was supposed to come from Bhopal’s National Disease Diagnostic institute is yet to reach Tripura,” officials said.
During the visit, the experts’ team advised the farmworkers to be cautious and recommended they use safety gear.
“Two rapid response teams comprising ten people in each have been constituted. The teams will be headed by a veterinary officer and they will directly report to the panel of nodal officers. Chief of ARDD’s Disease Investigation laboratory, Dr Mrinal Dutta, Deputy Director of the district and SDM Bishalgarh are monitoring the developments very closely,” a source said.
On being asked about the future course of action, sources said, “If we don’t receive the Center’s order we can’t do anything. But preliminary works have been done already. We have managed to dig up 8 big graves in an area of 64 square feet each. The infected ones will be administered anesthesia and later buried inside the graves. Our primary goal is to contain the disease within the farm. Testing will be ramped up for the pigs being reared by locals as well. Our main focus is now one kilometer radius of the farm.”
According to officials, a total of 63 pigs of different sizes have died since March 25. Before the outbreak, there were 265 mature pigs and 185 piglets in the sheds, including 50 pigs that were imported from abroad for research purposes.
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