ASF spreading in Nagaland because of importing pigs, says expert

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Even as African swine fever (ASF) cases have been reported in several north-eastern states, including few districts in Nagaland, Deputy Director of Veterinary Hospital in Dimapur, Dr. KN Zubemo Humtsoe told this newspaper that no such cases have been detected in Dimapur so far.

It came a day after the Directorate of Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Service confirmed that ASF cases had been detected in Longleng, Mokokchung and Phek districts through “nucleotide sequencing” of PCR products and RTPCR from NIHSAD in Bhopal and NERDDL in Guwahati.

Dr. Humtsoe said that ASF is spreading in Nagaland because of importing pigs from Assam, as majority of pigs from the neighbouring state is not vaccinated against classical swine fever.

He said that people are also not cautious, and Dimapur being so porous, it is impossible to check transportation of pigs from Assam. He added that some people bring pigs via Niuland as well.

The doctor informed that the department conducts classical swine fever vaccination drive in the state throughout the year and advised vaccination of piglets at three months old, and at least twice a year.

He also informed that samples for classical swine fever can be tested in Kohima, but samples for ASF must be sent to Assam for confirmation.

While stating that they are keeping an eye on the disease, the doctor also advised the public to inform the Veterinary department if any pig deaths and sickness is detected instead of causing panic by spreading false information, so that the officials can carry out spot verification and get confirmation.

[Also read: Pig deaths reported in Kohima]

The president of Nagaland Pig Farmers’ Association, N Subong Aier also informed that the farmers (in Dimapur) have not reported any cases of ASF so far.

He said that they have conducted an awareness programme on response to disease and on maintaining bio-security. He added that the farmers do not allow outsiders to visit the pig farms.

Aier also informed that they do not sell pigs in the market as they are not even able to meet the demands of their own localities, because of which farm pigs are often bought for wedding and birthday events.

Lamenting that consumption of pork is so high but production is so low in the state, he encouraged the youngsters to take up pig farming.