India reports African swine fever outbreaks in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh states

India has reported its first case of African swine fever (ASF) in both domestic pigs and wild boar as the virus continues its global spread.
calendar icon 20 May 2020
clock icon 3 minute read

According to reporting from Indian media and Swine Web, the outbreak has been detected in two north-eastern states. ASF has killed nearly 2,500 pigs in six districts across Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. The disease has also killed wild boar.

Reports from Indian media suggest that the virus has been present in the country for an extended period before the outbreak was confirmed.

The Assam state government decided to send the samples for testing to ICAR Bhopal after pigs failed to recover from symptoms after being vaccinated against classical swine fever (CSF). The veterinary authorities were already on a vaccination drive of pigs against CSF in the region, according to the Telegraph (India).

The results confirmed that all 17 samples from pigs from various locations in Assam were positive for ASF by identifying the virus genome with real time PCR and nucleotide sequencing analysis. A further 11 out of 62 samples from Arunachal Pradesh were positive for the virus, the Telegraph report added.

The Assam authorities have not yet decided to cull pigs, with this decision to be taken by an expert committee made of Government officials, vets, pig farmers and other stakeholders. Various restrictions, including on the movement of pigs, have been put in place, however.

Speaking to India’s Economic Times, Assam Animal Husbandry Minister Atul Bora said: “The National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD), Bhopal, has confirmed that it is African Swine Fever (ASF). The central government has informed us that it is the first instance of the disease in the country.”

“We have discussed with experts if we can save the pigs without culling them. The death percentage of the pigs affected by the disease is almost 100 percent. So we have made some strategies to save the pigs, which are not affected by the virus.”

“After testing, we will cull only those pigs which will be found infected. We are avoiding the immediate culling of the pigs. We will have daily updates and take a decision as and when the situation demands.”

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