MALF reveals pig disease detected at South Trinidad farm

Home*Cover Story*News

MALF reveals pig disease detected at South Trinidad farm

The Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries (MALF) has advised that one case of Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) has been detected at a pig farm in South Trinidad.

According to a statement from the Ministry on Friday, 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.

MALF said it is important to note that PRRS is not a zoonotic disease and poses no threat to food safety and human health, thus, 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,” the ministry stated.

MALF noted that 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.

MALF said it Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Lana Gyan, has 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).”

MALF said in order to minimise the spread of this disease, it has quarantined the premises where the disease was detected and the School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM) and Sanitec in collaboration with regional swine medicine experts have been engaged to provide technical and operational advice.

Reiterating that this disease poses no threat to human health and food safety, MALF stated: “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.”

MALF said it will continue to advise on this situation as it progresses.