Even as the world grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, another viral disease has hit Assam. The state has been battling the African Swine Fever with Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal recently asking officials to create a road-map to deal with the situation.
The disease has already killed over 2,500 pigs in the northeastern state.
In a conversation with The New Indian Express, Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Minister Atul Bora said that the Assam government has taken the pandemic seriously as the mortality rate of AFS is very high.
What is African Swine Fever
African Swine Fever (ASF) is an extremely contagious haemorrhagic viral disease found in domestic and wild pigs.
As per the World Organisation for Animal Health, ASF is caused by a large DNA virus belonging to the Asfarviridae family and can be transmitted to healthy pigs through direct contact with domestic or wild pigs and through ingestion of contaminated substances or fomites.
Symptoms of African Swine Fever include high fever, loss of appetite, haemorrhages in the skin, abortion in pregnant sows, cyanosis, vomiting, diarrhoea and death within 6-13 days.
There is no approved vaccine for the disease.
African Swine Fever, however, does not fall under World Health Organisation’s Global Early Warning System for Major Animal Diseases, including Zoonoses (GLEWS) list as it is a non-zoonotic disease. This means it is not a risk to human health.
According to an article in The Print, before the novel coronavirus pandemic made its presence known in China, the country was grappling with an ASF outbreak.
The report stated that China’s Shenyang district witnessed the outbreak in 2018 following which it spread to the Philippines, Vietnam, East Timor and South Korea. The outbreak saw China losing over 100 million pigs.