Agriculture Ministry: No risk to public of pig disease

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture, Land & Fisheries Avinash Singh – Photo by Angelo Marcelle

MINISTER in the Agriculture Ministry Avinash Singh has said the public is not at risk as a result of the recent detection of Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) at a pig farm in South Trinidad.

He was answering a question from Couva North MP Ravi Ratiram in the House of Representatives on June 21.

PRRS, also known as blue ear disease, is a serious condition affecting domestic pigs. The disease is characterised by reproductive failure, pneumonia and increased susceptibility to secondary bacterial infections.

A statement issued by the ministry on June 7, said PRRS is not a zoonotic disease (transmitted between animals and humans) and poses no threat to food safety and human health.

The ministry added, “Local pork remains safe for human consumption.”

Singh repeated his points in his response to Ratiram.

He said piglets of PRRS-infected sows may not show symptoms of the virus but “can still share the virus through (passage) of faeces, urine and semen.”

Singh told MPs, “The public is advised there is no evidence to suggest human infection with the PRRS virus.”

He added that the farm where PRRS was detected has been quarantined.

“No live pig movement and no product is currently moving off that farm.”

In its June 7 statement, the Agriculture Ministry advised all pig farmers not to feed their pigs any pork products, 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 promised to continue to advise the population on the situation as it progresses.

Later in the sitting, in response to another question from Ratiram, Singh said the electrical infrastructure at the Brickfield fishing facility will be upgraded in the current fiscal year.

The estimated cost is $60,225.