Agriculture Ministry says, “Notifiable Pig Disease detected in South Trinidad poses no threat to food safety or human life”

June 7, 2024:-  Chaguanas, Trinidad and Tobago – The Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries (MALF) wishes to inform the public about the recent detection of Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) at a pig farm in South Trinidad. PRRS, also known as blue ear disease, is a serious condition affecting domestic pigs, characterized by reproductive failure, pneumonia, and increased susceptibility to secondary bacterial infections. It is important to note that PRRS is NOT a zoonotic disease and poses no threat to food safety and human health. Local pork remains safe for human consumption.

PRRS is classified as a notifiable disease under the Animal Diseases (Importation, Health, and Welfare) Act, Schedule 1, and is primarily transmitted through the movement of infected animals. Piglets of infected dams may not show symptoms but can still shed the virus through faeces, urine, and semen. Fomite transmission via vehicles or supplies is also possible. Notwithstanding this, the public is advised that there is no evidence to suggest human infection with the PRRS virus.

Following a confirmed positive laboratory test, a thorough investigation comprising of sample collection and testing is currently ongoing by a team of Veterinarians from the Ministry’s Animal Health and Production (AP&H) Division, at the farm in South Trinidad. Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) at MALF, Dr. Lana Gyan, advised that on-site clinical investigations are ongoing and samples are actively being collected for a thorough epidemiological investigation. Additionally, surveillance in the surrounding areas is continuing as the infection source remains unidentified at this time. As per the requirements of the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH), MALF has reported the outbreak and also informed the Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency (CAHFSA).

In order to minimise the spread of this disease, the Ministry has quarantined the premises in question. The School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM) and Sanitec in collaboration with Regional Swine Medicine experts have been engaged to provide technical and operational advice.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries reiterates to citizens that this disease poses no threat to human health and food safety. We advise all pig farmers throughout the country to desist from feeding your pigs any pork products, at this time as this disease may spread to other pigs via infected pork. The wellbeing of our livestock industry remains a priority to the agriculture sector and our country at large. The Ministry will continue to advise on this situation as it progresses.

 

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