African swine fever detected in pigs in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh
Amid the lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh are faced with a new problem as African Swine Fever (ASF) has been detected in pigs in both the states.
Samples from the two states sent to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) in Bhopal have tested positive for ASF virus, the institute said.
Following deaths of nearly 2,000 pigs in 6 districts of Assam last week, 17 samples were sent to the Bhopal institute for tests. Similarly 62 samples were sent from two districts in Arunachal Pradesh.
“All 17 tissue samples from Assam were positive for ASFV genome by real time PCR and nucleotide sequencing analysis. Eleven out of 62 samples from Arunachal Pradesh were positive for ASFV genome,” according to the NIHSAD test results.
According to the World Organisation for Animal Health, ASF is a severe viral disease affecting both domestic and wild pigs. It can spread by live or dead pigs and pork. The disease does not transmit from animals to humans.
Transmission can also occur via contaminated feed and objects such as shoes, clothes, vehicles, knives and other equipment, says World Organisation for Animal Health. Unlike Classical Swine Fever (CSF), there is no vaccine for ASF.
“We were providing vaccine for CSF, but we have stopped giving that vaccine in those districts where ASF has now been detected. There is no vaccine or medicines available for ASF. The disease doesn’t get transmitted to humans,” Assam agriculture Atul Bora said on Saturday.
Bora said that there is no possibility of getting infected by ASF due to consumption of pork and pork products. He said that the state government would take measures to ensure that the disease doesn’t spread to other areas.
Assam had earlier banned the sale of pigs and pork in the six affected districts where many pigs had died recently.
“ASF, which is epizootic (epidemic) has reached northeast India. We need to be extra vigilant and follow bio-security,” said Manoj Kumar Basumatary, president of North East Progressive Pig Farmers Association (NEPPFA).