Deadly African Swine Fever (ASF) kills more than 14,000 pigs in Assam
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Deadly African Swine Fever (ASF) kills more than 14,000 pigs in Assam

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African swine fever is a severe, highly-contagious haemorrhagic viral disease of domestic and wild pigs.

The deadly African Swine Fever (ASF) has killed more than 14,000 pigs in Assam, the government announced today. The state government had decided against culling the pigs on Monday.

“Till now, 14,465 pigs have died in 10 districts, due to African Swine Flu. The government is taking all possible steps to stop the spread of the disease. For prevention of the disease, we are advising farmers deep burial of dead pigs,” Assam’s animal husbandry minister Atul Bora told news agency ANI on Tuesday.

On Monday, the state’s animal husbandry and veterinary department director Pulin Das had told news agency IANS that they have no plans to cull the pigs despite the central government’s advice.

“We have told the central government in case of culling we will have to pay huge amounts to farmers and firm owners as compensation. Thus, for culling we need huge financial support from the central government,” IANS quoted Das as saying.

The Kaziranga National Park authority has dug a two-km long and six-feet deep trench to protect wild boars from the ASF infection.

According to the 2019 census, Assam had over 21 lakh pigs, which the authorities say could have increased to around 30 lakh now.

After the outbreak in Assam, all the North-East states have sounded high alert and asked people, especially owners of piggeries, to refrain from bringing pigs from other states.

The North-East’s annual pork business is worth around Rs 8,000-10,000 crore, with Assam being the largest supplier.

What is African swine fever?

African swine fever (ASF) is a severe, highly-contagious haemorrhagic viral disease of domestic and wild pigs. This transboundary animal disease (TAD) can be spread by live or dead pigs, domestic or wild, and pork products.

It is caused by a large DNA virus of the Asfarviridae family, which also infects ticks of the genus Ornithodoros.

Signs of African swine fever and classical swine fever (CSF) may be similar but the ASF virus is unrelated to the CSF virus.

African swine fever is a disease listed in the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Terrestrial Animal Health Code and must be reported to the OIE.