Human visitors are suspected to have been the source of the highly contagious African swine fever outbreak among pigs in Kamjong district, an official of the veterinary and animal husbandry department said on Thursday.
District Magistrate, Kamjong on Wednesday notified the infected zone and surveillance zone after confirmation of the outbreak among pigs in Dang’s Piggery Farming, owned by one Gideon Shadang at Grihang village in Kamjong.
As many as 80 pigs, including piglets, in the farm have reportedly died of the infection since April, 2022. The outbreak of African Swine Fever was also reported in Imphal East and Thoubal districts in 2021.
While humans are safe from the infection as the virus cannot be transmitted to them, the infection has a 100 per cent mortality rate for pigs as there is no cure or vaccine so far, disease investigation lab in-charge of the veterinary department, Dr Sabitri Maibam said in an exclusive conversation with the Imphal Free Press.
ALSO READ: African Swine Flu outbreak confirmed in Manipur's Kamjong district
She further said that, the source of spread of the infection is likely to be people who had visited the farm since humans often carry them on their clothes or other surfaces. Besides, according to the farmer, the pigs were not fed kitchen waste which may have been contaminated with the virus. It is also suspected that the infection was already present among other pigs within the district. However, many have already been consumed by the locals before the reporting of deaths on May 11, she said.
According to official reports, the start of the outbreak is traced to have been on April 17 when the pigs started dying while the farmer reported the unusual mortality nearly a month later.
Dr. Sabitri maintained that preventive measures such as disinfection, sanitisation and restriction on carrying of live pig, pig feed, pork and pork products under the Prevention and Control of Infectious and Contagious Diseases in Animals Act, 2009 have been taken up. The last option is culling the live animals to prevent further spread. Moreover, rearing of pigs at the farm will be restricted for some few months, she added.
As told by her, the farm is located in a secluded area, around five kilometres away from the highway, and the chances of further spread of the infection is very less.
Since there is no cure or vaccine developed so far for African Swine Fever, she advised piggery farmers that the best is to take preventive measures such as restricting contact with humans, keeping separate farm cloth and using disinfectant before entering near the pigs among others.
Meanwhile, devastated with the outbreak, owner of the farm, Gideon Shadang told the Imphal Free Press that around 15 pigs, which were the last to be alive, have also succumbed to the infection within two-three days.
He said that he would have earned at least Rs 16-20 lakh had there been no outbreak.
He also drew the attention of the government to encourage and provide necessary assistance to the local pig farmers, who are venturing to meet the pork demand in the market.
Gideon opined that such an outbreak may only be prevented by restricting interstate and intercountry supply of pigs.