At least 87 pigs have died of unknown disease at Lungsen village in south Mizoram’s Lunglei district along the India-Bangladesh border.

It is suspected that the pigs died of African Swine Fever (ASF).

The death of the pigs caused a loss to the tune of Rs 40 lakh, said an official of the animal husbandry and veterinary department of Mizoram on Sunday.

“Though the cause of the pigs’ death is yet to be ascertained, it is suspected that they might have died due to African Swine Fever (ASF),” joint director (livestock health division) of the animal husbandry and veterinary department, Dr. Lalhmingthanga said.

He said the first case of pig death was reported at Lungsen village on March 21 following which veterinary officers were sent to the village to ascertain the cause of death.

As per the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests on tissue samples and serum sample of dead pigs done at the epidemiological centre and college of veterinary science and animal husbandry in Aizawl, it was confirmed that the pigs were free from Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) and Classical Swine Flu (CSF), he said.

Although the confirmatory test for ASF is yet to be done at National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) in Madhya Pradesh, preliminary tests will be done at the college of veterinary science and animal husbandry on Monday to ascertain if the dead pigs were infected by AFS, the official said.

According to Lalhmingthanga, the government has already sounded alert for African Swine Fever in the state and declared Lungsen village as an infected area and a prohibitory order was clamped under section 144 on April 2.

Though the actual disease is yet to be confirmed, a preventive measure is being taken in accordance with ASF Prevention and Containment National Action Plan as a precautionary measure, he said.

He said an investigation team, led by animal husbandry and veterinary (disease investigation and epidemiology) deputy director Dr. M. Zohmingthangi, will pay a visit to Lungsen village on Monday to stake stock of the situation.

The team will collect tissue and blood samples to be sent to outside the state for a test, he said.

Lalhmingthanga also said the disease was suspected to be transmitted through the import of pigs and smoked pig meat from neighbouring states and countries like Bangladesh.

He added that the first pig death was reported near hotels where imported pig meats were largely consumed.

Mizoram was hit by PRRS in 2013, 2016, 2018 and 2020 killing thousands of pigs and piglets causing a loss to the tune of Rs 10.62 crore.

So far, the state has not reported any outbreak of African Swine Fever.

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