More than 80 pigs died in south Mizoram's Lunglei district over the last two weeks, triggering panic in the area that is near the Bangladesh border, an official said on Sunday.

The 87 deaths, which happened in the Lungsen village, have caused losses to the tune of Rs 40 lakh, he said.

''Though the cause of the deaths is yet to be ascertained, it is suspected that the animals died due to African Swine Fever (ASF),'' said Lalhmingthanga, the Joint Director of the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Department.

The first death was reported on March 21, following which veterinary officers were sent to the village to ascertain the cause, he said.

As per the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests on tissue samples and serum samples, the dead pigs were confirmed free of Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) and Classical Swine Flu (CSF), he said.

The confirmatory test for ASF is yet to be done at the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) in Madhya Pradesh, Lalhmingthanga said.

The preliminary test will be done at the College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry on Monday to ascertain whether the dead pigs are suspected to be infected with AFS, he said.

The government has already sounded alert for ASF in the state and declared Lungsen village as an infected area with prohibitory orders clamped under CrPC Section 144 on April 2, the official said.

Though the actual disease is yet to be confirmed, the measure is being taken in accordance with ASF Prevention and Containment National Action Plan, he said.

An investigation team led by Animal Husbandry and Veterinary (Disease Investigation and Epidemiology) Deputy Director M Zohmingthangi will visit Lungsen village on Monday to stake stock of the situation, he said.

The team will collect tissue and blood samples to be sent for tests, the official said.

Lalhmingthanga said that the disease was suspected to be transmitted through the import of pigs and smoked pig meat from the neighbouring states, and Bangladesh.

The first death was reported near hotels where imported pig meats were largely consumed.

Mizoram was hit by PRRS in 2013, 2016, 2018 and 2020, killing thousands of pigs and piglets, causing losses to the tune of Rs 10.62 crore.

So far, the state has not reported any outbreak of African Swine Fever.