Mysterious virus kills over 1,900 pigs in Assam

GUWAHATI: Amid the Covid-19 pandemic that has kept the country locked up, a mysterious virus has killed more than 1,900 pigs in six of its districts in recent days, prompting the state government to impose a ban on the sale of pigs and consumption of their meat The affected areas have been declared containment zones to control the spread of the virus.

“After receiving reports of these unnatural deaths, we sent teams of doctors to each affected district. Samples collected from dead pigs were processed by the Northeast Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (NERDDL) and the Biosafety Level 3 laboratory (BSL-3). According to reports, we have not been able to identify the real cause of the deaths. We suspect it could be due to an exotic virus, it may be a foreign virus, said agriculture minister Atul Bora.

The state government on Saturday banned the sale and purchase of pigs and pork, closed all slaughterhouses and prohibited the movement of people in contact with pig farms from one place to another, Bora added.

The state government has sent the samples to the National Institute for High Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal for confirmation. After receiving the Bhopal report, we will take the next step, the minister said.

He added: This is a season for swine flu and we have vaccinated the animals. Although many pigs are healthy, 1964 have died in Sivasagar, Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Dibrugarh, Jorhat and Biswanath districts.

In Sivasagar, 1,128 pigs have died, 616 in Dhemaji and 107 in Dibrugarh district. The rest have died in the remaining three districts.

We don't want the disease to spread. Therefore, these six districts have been declared containment zones and people who are in contact with the pigs are prohibited from traveling outside their place of stay, Bora added.