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African Swine Fever Claims 1,900 Pigs in Mizoram

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The African Swine Fever (ASF) continues to ravage Mizoram, with the deadly disease resulting in the death of approximately 1,900 pigs since its outbreak in April. In a bid to curb the spread of this highly contagious virus, authorities have also culled 3,415 pigs, marking a significant loss for the state’s pork industry.

The relentless spread of ASF has severely disrupted the pork business in Mizoram, a state where pork is a staple and highly popular meat among both tribal and non-tribal communities. Officials from the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary (AHV) Department have declared six districts—Aizawl, Champhai, Lunglei, Saitual, Khawzawl, and Serchhip—as ASF-infested zones. Meanwhile, the remaining five districts are still considered relatively safe, though the Kolasib district is under close watch due to rapid virus transmission.

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In accordance with the Prevention and Control of Infectious and Contagious Disease in Animals Act of 2009, the AHV Department has designated various villages and localities within the six affected districts as infected areas. This declaration followed the surge in ASF cases in April. To contain the outbreak, the department has prohibited the supply of pigs, piglets, and pork from these infected areas.

Additionally, the state government has imposed a ban on the import of pigs and piglets from neighboring states and countries, particularly those with ongoing ASF outbreaks. Surveillance teams are actively culling infected pigs using lime powder in designated areas and are educating the public on proper precautions and handling practices to manage the disease effectively.

Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Minister C. Lalsawivunga recently convened a meeting with relevant officials to review the current ASF situation. He emphasized the importance of adhering to government guidelines and directives to combat the disease and mitigate its impact.

Mizoram first encountered ASF in 2021, and since then, the state has faced recurrent outbreaks, particularly during the summer months when the climate warms up and pre-monsoon rains commence. Between 2021 and 2023, the state reported the deaths of over 47,270 pigs and piglets due to ASF, with at least 25,182 pigs culled during that period. The government has compensated approximately 3,000 families for their losses and is currently seeking additional funds from the central government to support more affected families.

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Experts suggest that the ASF outbreak in Mizoram may have been triggered by pigs or pork imported from neighboring Myanmar, Bangladesh, and adjoining northeastern states. The region’s high demand for pork, with an annual business worth between Rs 8,000 and Rs 10,000 crore, exacerbates the situation. Assam, being the largest supplier in the Northeast, also faces significant challenges due to the ASF outbreak.

The persistent ASF outbreak underscores the need for stringent biosecurity measures and continuous monitoring to prevent further spread. The AHV Department, along with local authorities, remains vigilant and is working tirelessly to control the outbreak and support the affected communities.

As the ASF crisis continues, the Mizoram government is calling for increased cooperation from all stakeholders, including farmers, traders, and the general public, to adhere to the guidelines and help curb the disease’s spread. The government’s proactive approach, combined with community efforts, aims to restore stability to the pork industry and safeguard the livelihoods of those dependent on it.

In conclusion, the ASF outbreak in Mizoram is a stark reminder of the vulnerability of the livestock industry to infectious diseases. It highlights the critical need for effective disease management strategies and robust support systems to mitigate the impact on affected communities and ensure the long-term sustainability of the pork industry in the region.

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