African Swine Fever hits 3 Mizoram districts, kills hundreds of pigs

IANS Representational photo

Aizawl, May 13 (IANS) The contagious African Swine Fever (ASF) continues to spread in Mizoram, killing at least 635 pigs while 290 pigs had to be culled so far to prevent the spread of the disease, officials said on Monday.

Officials in the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary (AHV) Department said that since April, an ASF outbreak has been reported from three districts -- Aizawl, Champhai, and Saitual -- with 308 pigs killed and 195 pigs culled since last month in Aizawl alone.

Officials said that under the Prevention and Control of Infectious and Contagious Disease in Animals Act, 2009, the department has declared various villages and localities in these three districts as infected areas following the outbreak of ASF.

The department has also prohibited the supply of pigs from the infected zones.

The AHV department has asked its teams and villagers to bury the dead and culled pigs with lime powder in the designated areas.

Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Minister C. Lalsawivunga recently held a review meeting with the concerned officials and appealed to all to adhere to the government’s guidelines and directives to deal with the disease.

The ASF first hit Mizoram in 2021 and since then, reports of the outbreak of the disease have been reported almost every year during summers.

According to the officials, the outbreak of ASF mostly occurs when the climate begins to warm up and pre-monsoon rains commence in the state.

At least 47,269 pigs and piglets have died between 2021 and 2023 in Mizoram due to ASF outbreak, while at least 25,182 pigs have been culled during this period.

The amount of losses incurred due to the ASF outbreak in the state has been estimated to be over Rs 132.20 crore, affecting 19,017 families.

According to experts, the outbreak of ASF may have been caused by pigs or pork brought from neighbouring Myanmar, Bangladesh, and the adjoining states of the northeast.

With heavy demand for pork in the northeastern region, its annual business in the region is worth around Rs 8,000-Rs 10,000 crore, with Assam being the largest supplier.