Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Minister of Mizoram Dr K Beichhua today reached Lungsen village, the site of the ongoing swine fever crisis that has claimed the lives of 276 pigs since March 21st, 2021. Lungsen village is located at Lunglei District in southern Mizoram, 57 kms away from the District capital Lunglei, and 35 kms away from Tlabung town, the main commercial hub along the Indo-Bangaldesh border in Lunglei District.
The Minister was accompanied by top officials of the AH&Vety Department including Director Dr H.Laltlanmawia and Deputy Director Dr C. Lalrintluanga. Lunglei DC Pu Kulothungan A and other District officials also joined in from Lunglei.
At a short meeting held at the RD Rest House, the AH&Vety Minister thanked officials, VCs and NGOs for their tireless efforts in containing the virus since the outbreak on 21st March. Measures to contain the spread of the highly infectious virus need to be continued on a war footing, he added.
The Minister handed over cash assistance of Rs. 20,000/- each to the three YMA Branches in Lungsen village. The three branches have each set up separate burial grounds on the outskirts of Lungsen village, with volunteers stepping out for mass burials at designated hours. Due to the daily increase in swine deaths, JCB Earthmovers were used to dig out burial pits in advance at these burial grounds. The Minister and his team visited these burial grounds, inspecting the safety measures being taken while burying the pig carcass.
A five member Disease Investigation Team from Aizawl, led by Dr M Zohmingthangi, Deputy Director AH&Vety (Disease Investigation & Epidemiology) has camped out in the village since Monday (05/04/2021). The team is studying the on ground situation, and educating villagers in and around Lungsen village of the various precautionary steps needed to be taken amid the crisis, including proper burial method of infected pig carcass, and the importance of cleaning and disinfection. The team has also distributed gloves, Sodium hypochlorite, potassium permanganate and cash assistance of Rs. 7000/- each to the 3 YMA Branches within Lungsen village.
The infected pigs at Lungsen village have developed symptoms such as vomiting, lethargy, anorexia, bluish discoloration of the abdomen, and fever. These symptoms are indicative of AFS according to AH&Vety officials.
The first pig death was reported at Lungsen on March 21st 2021. The Chief Veterinary Officer Tlabung received the information on March 25th and immediately swung into action, collecting tissue sample and serum samples from the dead pigs which were then tested at the AH&Vety’s Epidemiological Centre, Khata and at the Department of Pathology, College of Veterinary Sciences & Animal Husbandry, Selesih.
The samples were tested using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and they tested negative for Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) and Classical Swine Fever (CSF). According to AH&Vety officials, preliminary tests have indicated African Swine Fever (ASF) as the main cause of the swine deaths at Lungsen. Tissue and blood samples were sent yesterday (07/04/2021) to the National Institute of High Security Animal Disease (NIHSAD) in Bhopal for a confirmatory test.
Though ASF is yet to be confirmed, measures are being taken in accordance with ASF Prevention and Containment National Action Plan.
Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) Tlabung, Dr K.Lalhlimpuii had earlier on 1st April declared Lungsen as an ‘Infected Area’ under Section 20 of The Prevention and Control of Infectious and Contagious Diseases in Animals Act, 2009.
Tlabung SDO (C) and BDO Lungsen Pu Lalsanglura also issued a prohibitory order under section 144 of the CrPC for two months from April 2nd. The order prohibits movement of pigs to and from Lungsen village
AH&Vety Secretary Pi Lalzarmawii also issued a notification on 06.04.2021 declaring Lunglei District excluding Lungsen Village as a Controlled/Surveillance Zone/Area in order to contain and prevent the spread of the present disease outbreak highly suspected to be African Swine Fever.
The AH&Vety Minister will conduct a meeting with Lunglei District officials tomorrow at the office chamber of the Deputy Commissioner to devise further plan of action and containment measures.
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