Animal health body issues alert on Mizoram pig disease

Disease surfaced in March; outbreak notified as first occurrence for India

By Kundan Pandey
Published: Thursday 04 July 2013

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in France has issued a disease alert to its member countries about the outbreak of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) among swine in Mizoram. The viral disease, commonly called blue-ear pig disease, causes reproductive failure in breeding animals and respiratory tract illness in young pigs. It has reportedly killed more than 3,500 swine in the state. However, OIE website reports only 10 deaths so far. 

OIE was informed about the outbreak on June 26 by Gokul Chandra Pati, secretary, Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture, India. OIE then issued an alert to its member countries. The OIE Animal Health Information Department said, “Since this is the first time that porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome is identified in the history of the country, the reason for notification as first occurrence applies to the country; but the event is in fact circumscribed to a zone.”

Mizoram takes action against disease

The disease surfaced in Mizoram in March. It was confirmed initially as classical swine fever and treated accordingly. When no significant effect was noticed and the porcine death toll kept rising, samples were sent to the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory, Bhopal, where the samples were found positive for the PRRS virus on June 19. Mizoram state officials were summoned to Delhi for an emergency meeting, before reporting the outbreak to OIE. 

The Mizoram government has taken a few precautionary measures to control the outbreak like quarantine, movement control inside the country, screening, disinfection of infected premises or establishments, and treatment of affected animals. However, vaccination has not been done, says OIE, recommending other steps like stamping out and dipping or spraying.

According to the website, this is the first time the disease has been reported in India. Unconfirmed reports say that the disease has come from the neighbouring country of Myanmar.

PRRS is a viral disease characterized by two overlapping clinical presentations – reproductive impairment or failure in breeding animals, and respiratory disease in pigs of any age. In general, the disease 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.



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