Two districts of north Kerala have been put on high alert after African swine fever was detected in pigs in Wayanad on Friday, health officials said.
They said samples sent to the National Institute of High Security Diseases in Bhopal confirmed the disease. Samples were collected by the animal husbandry department after five pigs died last week. Now district authorities are planning to cull pigs within a two km area in the vicinity where the first case was reported from a farm.
"Samples were sent to the Bhopal lab after pigs died en masse. There are three farms nearby and all the animals, nearly 300 pigs, will be culled by this evening," said a district official.
Though experts said animal to human transmission is rare they called for extreme caution. State Animal Husbandry Minister Chinchu Rani said the government will take all measures to contain it. Besides Wayanad, an alert was also sounded in Kozhikode. Two weeks ago, the Kerala government had banned transportation of pigs and their meat from neighbouring states. Health experts have also asked people to cook red meat properly before consumption.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), African swine fever is a highly contagious viral disease prevalent in wild and domestic pigs and mortality rate is very high. There is no vaccine for the disease and it is not a threat to human beings as well, but it hits the pork industry and livelihood of farmers in a big way, it said.