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WHAT IS AFRICAN SWINE FEVER?

Focus: GS-III Science and Technology

Introduction

The porcine industry in Assam suffered major losses during the COVID-19 lockdown, which was followed by an outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF).

What is African Swine Fever?

  • African Swine Fever (ASF) does not affect humans but can be catastrophic for pigs.
  • The current outbreak of ASF in India is the first time that the disease has been reported in the country.
  • In 2019, the outbreak of the disease swept through pig populations in China — which is the largest exporter and consumer of pork — leading to large-scale cullings.
  • ASF is a severe viral disease that affects wild and domestic pigs typically resulting in an acute haemorrhagic fever.
  • The disease has a case fatality rate (CFR) of almost 100 per cent.
  • Its routes of transmission include direct contact with an infected or wild pig (alive or dead), indirect contact through ingestion of contaminated material such as food waste, feed or garbage, or through biological vectors such as ticks.
  • Any country with a pig sector is at risk of the spread of the disease and its spread is most likely via meat arriving aboard ships and planes, which is incorrectly disposed of and by meat carried by individual travellers.

What about ASF in India?

  • Officials believe ASF came into India through Tibet into Arunachal Pradesh and then into Assam, the state with the highest population of pigs in the country (the route of infection remains unconfirmed).
  • The Assam government decided to ban the slaughter and sale of pork awaiting test results of samples that were sent to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) in Bhopal. It was later confirmed that the samples were positive for ASF.

-Source: Indian Express

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September 2022
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