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Over 300 Pigs Culled in Kerala After African Swine Fever Breaks Out

Kerala culled over 300 pigs to contain an outbreak of African Swine Fever, a disease harmless to humans but highly contagious among pigs.

KJ Staff
Over 300 Pigs Culled in Kerala After African Swine Fever Breaks Out (Representational Photo Source: Department of Agriculture)
Over 300 Pigs Culled in Kerala After African Swine Fever Breaks Out (Representational Photo Source: Department of Agriculture)

More than 300 pigs have been culled in Thrissur district of Kerala following an outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF). The disease was spotted in Madakkatharan Panchayat following which the state's Animal Husbandry Department got cracking.

In a statement, the Union Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying said that Rapid Response Teams were deployed to cull and dispose of pigs within a 1 km radius of the epicentre. Further surveillance as per the action plan is to be carried out within a 10 km radius of the epicentre.

It may be recalled that in India, ASF first appeared in the northeastern states of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh in May 2020. Since then, the disease has spread to approximately 24 states and union territories across the country.

The ministry clarified that ASF is not zoonotic, that is, it cannot spread to humans. The National Action Plan for Control of ASF, formulated in 2020, outlines containment strategies and response protocols for outbreaks.

Interestingly, while the country faces a new outbreak of ASF in Kerala, the central government marked World Zoonoses Day on July 6 with an interactive session to commemorate Louis Pasteur's first successful rabies vaccine on July 6, 1885. It serves as a stark reminder of the thin line between animal and human health.

Though zoonoses diseases that can jump from animals to humans include rabies and influenza, as well as more recent concerns like COVID-19, the ministry reassured that not all animal diseases pose a threat to human health.

It said many livestock diseases, like Foot & Mouth Disease or Lumpy Skin Disease, cannot infect humans. Incidentally, India is home to 11 per cent of the global livestock population and 18 per cent of the world's poultry and is known as the world's largest milk producer and second-largest egg producer.

The government has launched nationwide vaccination campaigns for brucellosis in bovine calves and rabies. Moreover, a National Joint Outbreak Response Team (NJORT) has been established under the One Health approach, bringing together experts from various ministries and research institutions, the ministry added.

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