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Swine flu scare dampens pork sale in Meghalaya
Correspondent SHILLONG, AUG 13:
Published on 13 Aug. 2009 11:23 PM IST
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Pork sales slumped in Meghalaya in the wake of the swine flu outbreak across the country. Pork is a perennial favourite among the locals and they consume it frequently. The sale of pork has drastically brought down the demand in the local markets here especially after a young footballer from the state, tested positive with the H1N1 virus, while the test results of other three persons sent to the National Institute for Cholera and Enteric Diseases, (NICED), Kolkata are awaited. Meghalaya imports pigs from Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Assam. “The demand for pork in the market has weakened as consumers shied away from pork due to swine flu scarce,” pork seller K Kharkongor said. About 200 pigs, brought from adjoining districts and Meghalaya, are slaughtered in the city every day. The swine flu had also affected of frequent pork consumers. “We have stopped consuming pork. We don’t want to take any risk after seeing media reports on the outbreak of this deadly disease,” Darikerlang Diengdoh said. Blaming the media for hyping the swine flu in the state, pork sellers urged the media and government to disseminate proper information to remove the fear psychosis among the consumers. “Swine flu is transmitted by humans and not by consuming pork, but pigs can contract with flu from people,” T Chyne, another pork-seller said. Allaying the fears that public can catch swine flu through consuming pork, Animal Husbandry and Veterinary officials said that the current spread of the H1N1 virus is from human-to-human transmission and not from either the consumption of pork or from contact with pigs. Restaurants and Bars in the city have also been affected by the swine flu scare with majority of costumers preferring vegetarian food. “We have to cut down with pork for the time being as most of our consumers prefer vegetarian food. They (consumers) do not want to take risk,” a restaurant owner said. However, some of the perennial pork consumers said they would continue to consume pork as they found that pigs are not H1N1 carriers. “I am sure when its (pork) properly cooked nothing is going to happen to us,” Adrian War said.

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