GUWAHATI: Hundreds of domestic pigs have died due to the spread of African Swine Fever in many areas of Darrang. The Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Department of Assam has stopped the slaughter, sale and consumption of pork from these areas for three months. The area has been declared an Infected Zone by the department.
Mainly, three villages of Akalibari, Borompur and Bahjani in Darrang District have been affected by the fever. Farmers who rely on pig farming as a source of livelihood are the most affected. As soon as the fever started affecting the pigs, farmers started culling them to save the others.
African swine fever virus is a large, double-stranded DNA virus in the Asfarviridae family. It is the causative agent of African swine fever. The virus causes a hemorrhagic fever with high mortality rates in domestic pigs; some isolates can cause death of animals as quickly as a week after infection. (Click Wiki)
“We have many farmers who rely on pig farms for income. Three more farms including mine started witnessing the pigs dying of unknown disease. Later, we found that they were dying because of the African Swine Fever. Initially, when we reported it to the department they did not show interest. Then media came into the scene and officials from the district headquarters arrived to take stock of the situation. Postmortem on carcasses was done and it was found that they had died of African Swine Fever,” said a farmer, Tirtha Boro.
On 29 April 2020, India reported the first African Swine Fever disease outbreak in the state of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. According to the data available with the veterinary department, over 15,000 pigs have been recorded dead from the 9 affected districts so far in Assam viz. Golaghat, Majuli, Dibrugarh, Kamrup, Dhemaji, Biswanath, North Lakhimpur, Sivasagar, Jorhat. (Click Wiki)
Image: Matthias Zomer