African Swine Fever (ASF) has wreaked havoc in India's northeastern state of Mizoram, killing nearly 5,000 pigs and piglets over a period of two months. The state has already been under lockdown since 10 May, with the government extending curbs to control the transmission of the deadly coronavirus.
People in Mizoram are known for their diet, which is rich in pork, chicken and beef; local cuisine is well-known for its smoked meat.
It's the first instance of African Swine Fever in the state and government authorities are investigating how the disease spread there. The outbreak has caused a loss of over $2.7 million US to farmers, the state government has stated.
Dr. Lalhmingthanga, Joint Director at the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science Department, said the first death of a pig was reported on 21 March at Lungsen village in south Mizoram's Lunglei District, which borders Bangladesh.
A month later, the disease spread to nine of the state's 11 districts, with just two districts free of the disease as of now.
The State's Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Minister Dr. K. Beichhua said it is investigating if the African Swine Fever had spread through illegally imported pigs. The government has banned the import of pigs and pig products from other States and foreign countries since last year.
Meanwhile, the government has declared 91 villages and neighbourhoods in the affected districts 'infected areas", with Aizawl District being the worst impacted, as its 55 localities are infected. There are over 32,000 live pigs in the infected zones and efforts are underway to save these, according to government officials.
Mizoram State Chief Zoramthanga has said that the piggery farmers and the economic stance are at stake.
— Zoramthanga (@ZoramthangaCM) June 2, 2021
Meanwhile, a government official has said that AFS is not a threat to human health and does not transmit from pigs to humans.