State stays alert with Blue-ear disease outbreak in Myanmar

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IMPHAL June 26: Following the outbreak of the Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus (PRRSV), or ‘blue-ear disease’, that has rocked Burma’s livestock industry over the past four months, and in the likelihood of the disease being communicated to other neighboring countries including the north eastern states of the country, an alert has been sounded by the the central government.

The alert came after the announcement from the World Health Organization’s Italian concern, the International Epizooties that the PRRSV virus which attacks the reproductive system of the swine has affected vast livestock in Myanmar and may spread to other neighboring countries if left unchecked.

A directive has been issued by the union agriculture ministry to the concerned departments of animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries that all states of the Northeast region that borders Myanmar to be on alert and take up precautionary measures.

In the meantime, official sources said that the concerned state officials including the chief secretary DS Poonia has intimated the security agencies among others to check the smuggling of pigs into the state from Myanmar.

It further stated that the districts of Churachanpur, Chandel and Ukhrul has close affinity with the Myanmar border and aside from other smuggled items, livestock products are being herded through the porous borders for sale in the said districts by the Myanmarese farmers.

On a similar note, veterinary officials also said that checking the smuggling of livestock including buffalo and pigs is itself a huge task and cannot be accomplished by the state veterinary department alone without additional help since the state shares a vast border with Myanmar and trade is conducted on a daily basis.

The source further maintained that there are no reports of the virus affecting the livestock of the state at present and the disease itself is not communicable to humans.

The PRRSV attacks only the reproductive system of swine; first the pig refuses to eat and later dies after ten days or so, he added.

He voiced apprehension that the virus if communicated to the livestock of the state then may be a calamity for the pig farmers of the state.

It may be mentioned that the states of Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur shares international borders with Myanmar. The states also rely on pork brought across the border as the state piggeries cannot produce the demand of the public.

Manipur has small private pig farms and the State has only two big farms run by the state government.

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