GUWAHATI, April 25 - Following the spread of an unknown disease that has led to death of 1,964 pigs in Assam in the past few days, the State Government on Saturday imposed a ban on sale of pig and pork. The order will be in force until further notification as the toll has been rising rapidly.
The disease was first reported from Dhemaji district in the last part of February. Later it spread to its nearby districts.
Agriculture Minister Atul Bora said the outbreak of the disease was reported in six districts � Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Biswanath, Dibrugarh, Sivasagar and Jorhat. The highest toll was reported from Sivasagar district where 1,128 pigs have died so far.
The State government has also put containment zone tag in these districts where transportation of pigs and feeds will be strictly restricted until further order.
Apart from precautionary measures, the authorities have also collected samples of infected pigs from the field. Bora said the collected samples were processed at the North Eastern Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory and at the laboratory of College of Veterinary Science, and sent to Bhopal-based National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases to ascertain the virus responsible for the disease.
�As a precautionary measure all pig farmers have been instructed to use maximum bio-safety norms in their respective farms. They should have to bury the carcass of infected pigs in a pit of at least six feet deep,� Bora said.
Further steps will be taken after receiving the report from the Bhopal-based laboratory, which is expected to come within two to three days, he said.
�A large section of local youths are associated with pig farming. So we are planning to compensate them for the loss. We have already sent an advisory to every district restricting the transportation of pigs,� Bora said.
The minister, however, asserted that there is no chance of the disease spreading to other animals or humans.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal held a meeting with top officials and scientists of the animal husbandry and veterinary department at the Brahmaputra State Guest House here and directed the department to conduct an inquiry into the �swine flu� cases in the State and take remedial measures at the earliest in the greater interest of farmers engaged in the piggery sector.
Agriculture Minister Atul Bora and Chief Secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna were also present in the meeting.