African Swine Fever (ASF) disease kills 15,000 domestic pigs in Assam

Guwahati, May 14: Amid the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, another disease has put Assam on high alert after nearly 15,000 domestic pigs in the state have died due to African Swine Fever (ASF).

Out of 33 districts of the state, 10 districts have been badly affected after thousands of domestic pigs have got infected by the disease.

After thousands of domestic pigs died due to the disease, the Assam government has formed a state-level Task Force to deal with the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak.

Assam Animal Husbandry, Veterinary & Agriculture Minister Atul Bora said that, 10 districts of the state have been affected and 14,919 pigs have died due to the disease.

“We have taken all possible measures to stop the spread of African Swine Fever. We have already informed the Union government and the center has assured to help us to control the situation. We have also demanded Rs 144 crore from the center to deal with the situation,” Atul Bora said.

The Assam minister also said that, the state government has already formed district level and state level Task Force to deal with the disease.

He also informed that, there are many wild boars in the state and the government is concerned about how to prevent the wild boars from the infection of African Swine Fever (ASF) disease.

“There are around 15,000 wild boars alone in Kaziranga National Park and we have discussed with the state forest department also to take preventive measures. Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has also directed the forest department to take all preventive measures,” Atul Bora said.

The Assam minister also said that the adoption of strict biosecurity measures is an option to curb the spread of the disease.

“We have declared containment zones within 1 km radius in the affected districts. The center has asked to go for the culling of pigs affected by the disease and we are discussing it,” Atul Bora said.

The Assam minister further said that, the disease was detected in the state in February last. However, it was started in April 2019 at a village of Xizang province of China bordering Arunachal Pradesh.

As per a 2019 census by the Assam Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Department, the pig population in Assam was around 21 lakh, but it has increased in recent times to around 30 lakh.