A preliminary test has indicated African Swine Fever (ASF) as the main cause of unusual deaths of pigs in a Mizoram village, an official of the state animal husbandry and veterinary department said on Wednesday.

At least 125 pigs have died at Lungsen village, about 39 km from Lunglei town in the southern part of the state bordering Bangladesh since March 21.

Animal husbandry and veterinary department joint director (Livestock Health) Dr. Lalhmingthanga said samples were tested in the department of pathology at College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry, Selesih near Aizawl on Monday as a preliminary investigation.

“African Swine Fever is highly suspected to be the main cause of deaths as revealed in the preliminary test,” he said.

He said tissue and blood samples were sent to the National Institute of High Security Animal Disease (NIHSAD) in Bhopal on Wednesday for a confirmatory test.

Also read: 87 pigs die along India-Bangladesh border in Mizoram; suspicion of African Swine Fever

According to Lalhmingthanga, samples of dead pigs were earlier tested using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and all of them tested negative for Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) and Classical Swine Flu (CSF), the two pig diseases common to Mizoram.

He said the infected pigs at Lungsen village have developed symptoms like loss of appetite, lethargy, fever, bluish discolouration on the abdomen, vomiting and also sudden death, which were indicative of ASF.

The first pig death was reported at Lungsen on March 21 with pigs brought from a nearby village close to the Indo-Bangladesh border and the state animal husbandry and veterinary department received the information on March 25, according to the official.

Since then at least 125 pigs have died in the village, he said.

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

Lalhmingthanga said the state government on Tuesday declared the entire Lunglei district as controlled or surveillance zone in order to contain and prevent the spread of the present disease outbreak.

Earlier, Lungsen village was declared as ‘infected area’ under the Prevention and Control of Infectious and Contagious Disease in Animal Act, 2009 with effect from April 1 and movement of pigs in and outside the village was prohibited under section 144 of the CrPC for two months since April 2, he said.

A five-member investigation team, headed by the department deputy director (disease investigation and epidemiology) Dr. Zohmingthangi, is currently camping at the village.

Animal husbandry and veterinary minister Dr. K. Beichhua will also visit Lungsen on Thursday to take stock of the situation.

Meanwhile, pig deaths are also reported at Thinghlun village in Mamit district on the Mizoram-Assam border.

Lalhmingthanga said they have sent some veterinary officers to the village and are waiting for official information.

Thinghlun village council president Vanneichhunga said at least 12 pigs have died in the village since early April.

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