Northeast on swine flu radar, pig import banned

June 16th, 2009 - 5:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Agartala, June 16 (IANS) Authorities in the northeastern region have stepped up precautionary measures against the spread of swine flu, besides banning import of pigs and pork products from adjoining countries, officials said Tuesday.
A health official said no case of influenza A(H1N1) infection had been reported in Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura. However, these states have banned import of pigs and pork products. The northeastern states share unfenced borders with Myanmar, Bangladesh, Bhutan and China.

“We are on a maximum alert with our rapid action teams keeping a strict vigil along the international border with Myanmar and Bangladesh and also boundaries with other northeastern states,” said C. Sangnghina, director of Mizoram’s animal husbandry and veterinary department.

“We are holding regular review meetings and collecting reports from deputy commissioners on the latest situation,” he added.

Sale of pork in Mizoram, Tripura, and Manipur has already come down after swine flu cases were reported in the country. Pigs are imported from Myanmar with pork being a favoured delicacy of Mizos.

The state governments of Tripura, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Manipur have launched a massive awareness campaign about swine flu as a substantial number of people in the region rear pigs and consume pork, a possible source of the deadly disease.

“The Manipur government has sounded an alert and has taken certain steps to prevent the entry of animals through international border with Myanmar,” said Thoiba Jiban Singh, director of Veterinary and animal husbandry department.

“We are following the standard guidelines in our seven government run pig breeding farms in Tripura and asked the private farms to follow the same,” said a senior official of the Tripura animal resources development department.

The Meghalaya government has also issued a set of directives to pig breeders.

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