Agriculture Minister visits Barrackpore community to witness Anti-Rabies vaccination exercise
In his first official field trip as Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, Senator the Honourable Kazim Hosein along with some members of the Ministry’s Executive Team which comprised of: Senator the Honourable Avinash Singh, Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries; Senator the Honourable Nigel De Freitas, Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries with responsibility for Lands and; Ms. Susan Shurland, Permanent Secretary (Ag), visited the Barrackpore community earlier today (March 24th), to get a first- hand view of the ongoing efforts by the Ministry in its attempt to manage the outbreak of rabies in the area.
Minister Hosein said that the Agriculture Ministry has been very proactive in its response to the issue since the first case was identified on February, 16th 2022, and he also empathised with those affected farmers who would have lost animals, as a result of the rabies outbreak. He further reiterated the Ministry’s commitment to the exercise and said, it continues to work closely with all stakeholders to effectively manage the situation.
Minister Hosein’s comments came while he was witnessing a vaccination procedure administered by the Anti-Rabies Unit (ARU) at the farm of Mr. Wayne Rambajan at Rochard Douglas Road in Barrackpore. Also in attendance at today’s event were: the Acting Chief Technical Officer (CTO), Mrs. Gloria Brathwaite-Didier; Dr. Victoria Lashley, Chief Veterinary Officer; Acting Director of Regional Administration South (RAS), Mr. Hansley Durbal; Veterinary Officer for the area, Dr. Jevan Sieusankar and; Mr. Robert Griffith, Anti-Rabies Assistant II.
To date, the Ministry has recorded twenty-seven (27) livestock deaths in the community. These include twenty-five (25) cattle and two (2) sheep.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries is currently conducting surveillance exercises in the area to identify sick animals (i.e. animals with signs of paralysis, in-coordination and / or excessive salivation) and those that are being attacked by vampire bats within the surrounding areas. Farmers are therefore strongly encouraged to report any incidence of sick animals to the nearest Animal Health Office or contact the Anti-Rabies Unit (ARU).
History of Rabies in Trinidad
Bat-transmitted rabies is endemic in Trinidad. However, since preventative measures are in place for the control of the bat population and protection of the animal population (i.e. rabies vaccination of livestock), cases in livestock have generally been few and sporadic since the 1930s. Only about 5 outbreaks have occurred over the last 50 years.