- The porcine industry in Assam suffered major losses during the COVID-19lockdown, which was followed by an outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) that has killed pigs in Assam and in Arunachal Pradesh.
- The current outbreak of ASF in India is the first time that the disease has been reported in the country.
- China is the largest exporter and consumer of pork — leading to large-scale cullings.
Back to basics
What is African Swine Fever?
- African Swine Fever (ASF) does not affect humans but can be catastrophic for pigs.
- 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.
- The disease is characterised by sudden deaths in pigs. Other manifestations of the disease include high fever, depression, anorexia, loss of appetite, haemorrhages in the skin, vomiting and diarrhoea among others.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
How did the current outbreak start?
- 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.
- In China, the first ASF outbreak was confirmed in August 2018.
- Recently Vaccine maker Indian Immunologicals Limited has launched classical swine fever vaccine for pigs in India.
- This cell culture technology-based vaccine has been developed in collaboration with the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Bareilly, Indian Immunologicals Limited (IIL).
- The classical swine fever is a highly contagious viral disease of pigs caused by an RNA virus and has a high fatality rate. It is also known as hog cholera virus.
- The company’s vaccine under the brand name ”Raksha Class” offers distinct advantages in terms of safety and can be scaled up in cell cultures to meet entire country’s requirements.