What you should know about African swine fever?

By Dr. Jikom Panor
District Investigation Officer
West Siang District, Arunachal Pradesh

What you should know about African swine fever?
By Dr. Jikom Panor
District Investigation Officer
West Siang District, Arunachal Pradesh

The Meghalaya Government confirmed 24 cases of African swine fever on Thursday. However, the state recorded a total of 73 cases of domestic pig death and samples of the rest are currently being tested.

What is African swine fever?

African swine fever is an exotic disease caused by a large DNA virus of Asfarviridae family. It was reported in India for the first time during January 2020 in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.

As per the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the current outbreak of ASF has affected China, Mongolia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Philippines, Republic of Korea, and Indonesia among others.

It is a highly contagious hemorrhagic disease of domestic pig and wild boar. The disease can be transmitted from infected or dead pork, contaminated feed, and fomites such as shoes, clothes, vehicles, knives etc.

It can also be transmitted from processed pork. There has been a huge economic loss in the pork industry and piggery farmers in the two affected states.

How did it spread to India?

Officials believe that the current outbreak in India is through Tibet into Arunachal Pradesh moving on to Assam. In China, the disease was reported during the month of August near Arunachal Pradesh. There has been unusual death of wild boar in Arunachal Pradesh.

How to prevent the spread of ASF?

There is no vaccine and treatment as of now; the only option is to cull the pigs of the infected zone with the radius of ten kilometres distance.

The disease is not zoonotic and therefore there is no risk in human health even while handling infected or dead animals.

It does not affect any other species and confines only to the porcine family.