Cayman pigs appear virus free as testing continues

| 01/05/2009

(CNS): Following the activation of Cayman’s Influenza Pandemic Contingency Plan in response to the possible pandemic of swine flu, local agriculture officials said they are taking precautionary steps with regard to the local pig population. Director of Agriculture Adrian Estwick said that his department’s veterinary staff members have already tested more than 300 local swine for the presence of the Influenza A virus. “The survey is not yet complete, but reports thus far are negative for the presence of this virus,” he added.


Although there have been no incidences of swine flu in the Cayman Islands and the WHO has said the virus is stabilizing, as well as early reports from the UK suggesting it is not as potent as first believed, Cayman is continuing with full precautions to mitigate any possible negative impact on the islands.

Estwick explained that the DoA is unable to test locally for the specific virus that causes swine flu. But if any positive Influenza A samples are found they will be sent to the US for further testing. “To date, there are no reports of flu-like viruses in the local pig population and we would like to keep it that way,” he said. In the interim, the department is considering imposing a temporary restriction on the importation of live pigs. However, live pig importation into the Cayman Islands is rare, the last occurrence being in December 1998. For artificial insemination purposes, semen was last imported in May 2005.

Estwick also said that eating pork will not cause consumers to be infected: “There is no evidence of swine influenza being transmitted by meat,” he said echoing the sentiments of the Public Health director Dr Kiran Kumar who said that once meat is cooked if the virus was there it would be destroyed.  A letter received from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Caribbean Basin Agricultural Trade Office Director Sarah Hanson also confirmed this and advised that pork and pork products remain safe for human consumption. Her letter also stated that there have been no reports of Influenza A H1N1 occurring in swine in the United States.

For additional information on swine flu, visit the Centre for Disease Control website link –


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Comments (6)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Yes we heard The Health Minister da nice man and his radio croonie on Friday tell us we have to take a "measured" approach and response and consider our tourism product. Well i have two questions for him and his radio talking head friend. If the WHO and UN have this at category 5 and 6 is the highest why should we take a laid back view when the rest of the world is on high alert and are taking serious measures to prevent it from spreading. You know this group of ministers really are taking people in Cayman for real idiots No one is Panicking Mr Minister what we are concerned about is your plan because from time to time we have heard of these eleborate plans and speechs and when something happens we have seen his measured responses. which by the way will cause widespread panic right after. finally for your radio talking head buddy which tourist is going to come here when they hear a outbreak has occurred in Cayman? 

    • Anonymous says:

      I can’t beleive how laid back health  and government officials on the island are taking this thing.  How can we not be fearful when everytime you turn on the TV there is another new case being reported. Really hope this virus does not come here because officials will be running around like chickens with thier heads cut off.  The best thing to do is for each household to read up on ways to keep your family safe and practice those measures.  CNN has as great website geared towards this pandemic and I recommend each person reads it.  Stay safe Cayman Islands.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t this overreacting?  The pigs haven’t been to Mexico.  How are they going to have caught the flu?  From tourists?

    • Anonymous says:

      If they’re born Caymanian pigs, they will give us no problems but if they got Caymanian Pig Status in the Makeeewa Gold Rush, we should probably quarantine, roll them over or even cull them.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Oh Sh**…maybe the Jews, Adventist and Rasta’s pon de land were right all along.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I say "do away with the unclean animals".  Science has directed us to beleive it was one good reason after another with the plagues in Moses time that the Jews were spared.  It was becuase of their cleanliness.  I don’t know how true it is, just maybe we should evaluate the Bible and the science behind it and make a wise and prudent decision on such matters soon.