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PRRS detected on pig farm in Trinidad

June 7, 2024

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – The Trinidad and Tobago government Friday sought to re-assure the population that the local pork remains safe for human consumption after porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) had been detected at a pig farm in South Trinidad.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries (MALF) said PRRS, also known as blue ear disease, is a serious condition affecting domestic pigs, characterised 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,” the MAALF said in a statement.

It said that the PRRS had been detected recently and that it is classified as a notifiable disease under the Animal Diseases (Importation, Health, and Welfare) Act.

The ministry said that the disease 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.”

It said that following a confirmed positive laboratory test, a thorough investigation comprising 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.

MALF Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO), Dr. Lana Gyan, said 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).

MALF said that in order to minimise the spread of this disease, it has quarantined the premises in question and that 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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