African swine flu: Over 700 sick pigs culled in MP; more than 50 wild boars dead in TN's Nilgiris

Animal husbandry department officials told TNIE that the infection has not spread to domestic pigs in The Nilgiris district.
Image for representational purpose only. (Photo | AP)
Image for representational purpose only. (Photo | AP)

DAMOH/UDHAGAMANDALAM: As cases of African Swine Flu (ASF) rise by the day, over 700 sick pigs were culled in Madhya Pradesh's Damoh district in the last two days. Officials from the animal husbandry department then buried them.

The first case of the sudden death of an animal came to light in Hata block of Damoh district. Later, hundreds of animals including cows, bulls and pigs were found dead within a week in the Banawar area of the district. Veterinarian Dr Somil Rai said that the flu has completely spread in these two areas.

In November, 85 infected pigs died during a period of 15 days in the state's Katni district.

Meanwhile, in Tamil Nadu, Nilgiris District Collector S P Amrit on Thursday confirmed the deaths of over 50 wild boars near the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) due to ASF.

The collector added that few wild boars were found dead in Kothagiri, Keelkothagiri, Coonoor, Manjoor and in Ooty in the last 10 days, apart from Bandipur area in Karnataka, bordering Tamil Nadu.

24 boar deaths occurred between 3 January and 25 December 2022, and all within 500 metres in the tri-junction of Masinagudi, Karkudi and Theppakadu forest ranges, which is frequented by tourists from neighbouring states. Also, several tribal hamlets are located in the area.

A special team from Chennai will be visiting Nilgiris to further examine the disease, he said, while adding that the anti-poaching squad are involved in collecting the carcasses and burning them.

D Venkatesh, conservator of forest and field director of MTR, had told TNIE that field staff have been instructed to avoid dumping waste in the open as there is a high chance that wild boars might get attracted by it. He said they were waiting for few days as there is hope that ASF could subside. "It happened at Bandipur tiger reserve in Karnataka, where 19 deaths were reported a month ago, and it subsided without forest department’s intervention,” said Venkatesh. 

Animal husbandry department officials also told TNIE that the infection has not spread to domestic pigs in The Nilgiris district.

Officials suspect the disease could have been contracted through water and other environment used by infected boars in Bandipur Tiger Reserve in Karnataka which is close to the MTR. Sources said tests conducted in Bandipur last month had confirmed the presence of but fatalities were controlled.

ASF is a highly highly infectious haemorrhagic viral disease of domestic and wild pigs and has no effective vaccine. It causes 100 per cent mortality. It is not transmitted from animals to humans.

Though it does not spread to other animals, officials have cordoned off the Theppakadu elephant camp in the Nilgiris to prevent entry of boars. The camp has been cordoned off using sarees and nets, a technique used by farmers to prevent elephants from raiding their crops.

(With inputs from Express News Service, ANI, PTI)

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