Officials Escalate Efforts to Stop African Swine Fever Spread in India

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African swine fever (ASF) continues to rage in India. Officials in India fear the disease is out of control as reports surface of the disease entering the wild pig population. 

The Indian state of Assam is preparing to mass cull after the virus has already killed nearly 15,000 domesticated pigs, according to The Hindu.

This is the first reported case of the deadly virus in India. And the extent of the spread of African swine fever is still unknown. Officials in Arunachal Pradesh’s East Siang district reported six wild boar carcasses in a community forest at Lidor Soyit upstream of the Sille River, the article said.

Unverified reports of wild boars dying from an unknown disease in East Siang and Upper Siang districts has officials wary of the possibility of ASF having spread from domestic pigs to wild pigs.

“A team of forest, veterinary officials and experts trekked about 10 km to locate the carcasses after receiving information from the villages. We suspect ASF is the cause of death but will have to await confirmation after we send blood and tissue samples to labs outside,” Divisional Forest Officer (Territorial) Tashi Mize told The Hindu.

Can trenches slow the disease spread?
The Veterinary and Forest Departments also got together to dig trenches on the periphery of wildlife reserve, specifically the Kaziranga National Park that houses an estimated 15,000 wild boars, to stop them from coming in contact with domestic pigs reared in adjoining villages, The Hindu reports.

Veterinary officials have advised culling domesticated pigs in the affected areas. The Forest Department has now identified critical areas and advised villagers not to hunt wild boars and consume their meat.

The disease has spread from six to 10 of Assam’s 33 districts and has killed 14,919 pigs despite having taken preventive measures such as culling.

At this time, there is no cure for ASF. The disease, though deadly to pigs, is not harmful to humans and poses no food safety risk.

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