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What is African Swine Fever(ASF) reported in India recently for the fi...

  May 09, 2020

What is African Swine Fever(ASF) reported in India recently for the first time?

  1. ASF is a severe viral disease that affects wild and domestic pigs typically resulting in an acute haemorrhagic fever. 
  2. The disease has a case fatality rate (CFR) of about 100 percent. 
  3. 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.
  4. The disease is characterised by the sudden deaths of pigs. Other manifestations of the disease include high fever, depression, anorexia, loss of appetite, haemorrhages in the skin, vomiting and diarrhoea among others. 
  5. It is important that determination of ASF is made through laboratory testing and it is differentiated from Classical Swine Fever (CSF), whose signs may be similar to ASF, but is caused by a different virus for which a vaccine exists.
  6. Even so, while ASF is lethal, it is less infectious than other animal diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease. But as of now, there is no approved vaccine, which is also a reason why animals are culled to prevent the spread of infection.
  7. 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.
  8. The ASF causing virus is believed to have entered Europe for the first time in 1957 when it was introduced into Portugal from West Africa.
  9. In September 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. As a result, the prices of pork shot up by over 50 per cent in the country over pre-outbreak levels.
  10. As per the latest update issued by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the current outbreak of ASF has affected China, Mongolia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Republic of Korea and Indonesia among others. 
  11. As per reports, it is possible that ASF came into India through Tibet into Arunachal Pradesh and then into Assam, the state with the highest population of pigs in the country.