By Adam Halliday
Aizawl, Jun 25 : Detection of an exotic virus from among more than 3,800 pigs killed by swine fever in pig farms of Mizoram since March has led the Centre to summon state officials to New Delhi for an emergency meeting on Tuesday.
Dr Amarjit Singh Nanda, Animal Husbandry Commissioner in Department of Animal Husbandry Dairying & Fisheries at Krishi Bhavan in Delhi will chair the meeting to chart out a strategy to contain and eliminate the exotic virus found across the border in Myanmar.
The virus causes Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS), also known as blue-ear pig disease. It leads to failed pregnancies and respiratory illnesses in younger pigs. The illness was first reported in the US in the 1980s and led to a mass epidemic in China about five years ago.
"This kind of virus has never been detected in India before and the central government has summoned us to New Delhi for an emergency meeting to discuss how to tackle it after the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory in Bhopal confirmed it as PRRS," Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Director Dr L B Sailo said from Delhi, where he arrived Monday.
"This virus is found across the border in Myanmar but has never been reported in India. Though it is neither a very deadly disease nor a very fast spreading disease, it causes huge economic loss with failed pregnancies and respiratory illnesses," said a senior DADF officer at Delhi.
When the illness surfaced about three months back, vets first thought it was swine flu and vaccinated hundreds of pigs. About half of them survived, but the detection of PRRS has alarmed vets. The virus does not die and remains active in cured pigs, creating a risk of more pigs getting infected.
The government has imposed an indefinite ban on pig imports from Myanmar. Pork is one of the most common meat consumed in Mizoram and more than 164 piggery-based cooperative societies spread across the state currently coordinate pig farming under a government program started in 1989.