African Swine Fever continues to wreak havoc in Mizoram

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Aizawl, May 29 (PTI) The African Swine Fever (ASF) continued to wreak havoc in Mizoram, killing 4,650 pigs and piglets in a little over two months, an official said on Saturday.

The ASF outbreak has caused a loss of Rs 18.60 crore to the farmers of the state, said Dr Lalhmingthanga, the Joint Director (Livestock Health) at the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science Department.

The first pig death due to ASF was reported on March 21 at Lungsen village in south Mizoram's Lunglei district, bordering Bangladesh, he said.

Since then the dreaded pig disease has spread to nine districts -- Aizawl, Lunglei, Mamit, Serchhip, Lawngtlai, Khawzawl, Hnahthial, Siaha and Champhai.

Only Kolasib and Saitual districts are ASF-free at present, he said.

On Saturday, 40 pigs died of the disease, taking the toll to 4,650, the official said.

At least 91 villages and neighbourhoods in the affected districts have been declared as 'infected areas' of ASF with Aizawl district, having the highest infected areas of 55 villages or localities.

Lunglei district has identified 26 villages as infected areas, according to Lalhmingthanga.

The present live pig population in these infected areas is 32,108, he said.

The government has also received reports about the unusual deaths of 100 pigs outside the ASF-infected areas, he said.

The cause of these deaths are yet to be ascertained but it is suspected to be caused by ASF, he said.

This is the first instance of an ASF outbreak in Mizoram and is believed to be caused by pigs imported from neibhouring states and countries, officials said.

Mizoram shares inter-state borders with Assam, Manipur and Tripura and also international boundaries with Bangladesh and Myanmar.

ASF is a highly contagious and deadly viral disease, affecting both domestic and feral swine of all ages.

Experts said that it is not a threat to human health and cannot be transmitted from pigs to humans. No vaccine is available for the virus till date. PTI CORR SOM SOM