Not surprisingly in a country of over a billion people, disease outbreaks - whether in humans or animals - tends to occupy a good deal of the Indian press. According to India's Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, their IDSP (Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme) investigates as many as 50 outbreaks a week.
Most of these outbreaks stem from the `usual suspects'; mosquito borne viruses, food poisoning, influenza, or other relatively common causes.Even those initially labeled `mysterious' - once investigated - usually turn out to be less than exotic. There have been exceptions, however, and so reports such as the one we have today are worth noting.
Overnight Pathfinder, one of the dedicated newshounds on FluTrackers, posted a report - India - Mysterious death of pigs, dogs creates panic in Odisha’s Malkangiri - which was published yesterday by the Odisha Sun Times.
Since then, the Indian media has come alive with a number of reports on this incident, a few of which I've linked below. First from the Kalinga TV News Network.
On Aug 13, 2017
Malkangiri: Residents of Badigata village under Kalimela block of the district are in a state of panic after a number of pigs and stray dogs were found dead in the locality on Sunday morning. A team of district veterinary officials visited the village following the incident and examined the dead animals.
According to reports, residents of Badigata village were witnessing mass pig and dog deaths in the locality over the last couple of days but they brought it to the notice of the district administration after the toll reached alarming proportions since Friday. Villagers say around 150 animals, including pigs and dogs, have perished in the last two days.
District Veterinary officials swung into action today. The two-member team, which visited the village in the afternoon, hinted at an outbreak of Swine Flu after preliminary examination of the animal carcasses.
The team is in the village and details are awaited.
From The Hindu - which curiously does not mention dogs - we have:
Updated: August 14, 2017 04:48 IST Veterinary department taking the deaths seriously
The sudden death of around 100 pigs in three days has triggered panic in the Bodigeta area of Kalimela block in Malkangiri district of Odisha.
Since pigs are known to be carriers of the Japanese Encephalitis (JE) virus, the district administration and the State Veterinary department are viewing the deaths seriously.
JE and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) had claimed the lives of over 100 children in Malkangiri district last year. JE deaths were also reported from the Kalimela block. Apart from this, swine flu cases are also being reported in Odisha.
On Sunday, a team of experts from the Animal Diseases Research Institute, Cuttack, along with Chief District Veterinary Officer (CDVO) Dr. Sarat Kumar Mishra reached Bodigeta. They collected blood and viscera samples from the dead pigs. Blood samples from live pigs were also collected.
‘Not related to JE’
Speaking to The Hindu , Dr. Mishra said the deaths were not related to swine flu or JE. “JE virus does not cause any major ailment or death among pigs,” he added. He added that the deaths may be due to ‘swine fever’, a viral disease that affects only pigs.
There are several news reports on Youtube (warning graphic images) HERE and HERE.
Both Classical Swine and African Swine fever have been reported in India, and while both can have a severe impact on their swine industry, neither pose a zoonotic threat. Reports of dogs dying - if accurate - would raise some questions about either of those as the cause.
Poisons, or environmental toxins, are another possibility.For now, there is no indication that these animal deaths represent any sort of human health threat. Hopefully we'll get clarification from Indian authorities soon.