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#401035 - 02/25/11 03:21 PM Cattle, Pigs Affected By Vesicular Stomatitis
Marty Offline

Cattle, Pigs In Stann Creek And Cayo Affected By Vesicular Stomatitis

The Cayo and Stann Creek Districts are under strict surveillance by the Belize Agricultural Health Authority after cattle in Cayo and pigs in Stann Creek started showing symptoms of a disease called vesicular stomatitis, known locally as sore mouth.

There have been three reports from villages in the Cayo District and one report from the Stann Creek District. We went to one of those villages in Cayo today, the community known as Lower Barton Creek, where life moves at a different pace, but livestock disease travels at its own pace:…

Jules Vasquez Reporting
The Yellow Cortez Tree in dazzling full flower above Barton Creek sets the tone nicely for this rustic community where there are no engines, no electricity, and no radio - everything is powered by horse in this farming community which appears frozen in time.

It is a picturesque location, set against the foothills of the mountain pine ridge - but the natural grandeur and quaint old world charm of the setting is disrupted by this sign - BAHA Quarantine. It abuts a fence within which are 110 head of cattle, 50 to 60 of them infected with what appears to be vesicular stomatitis or sore mouth disease:

Dr. Miguel Depaz, Director Animal Health BAHA
"At this time we highly suspect vesicular stomatitis. We have the farms under pre-quarantine, in other words we are not allowing the movement of pigs, horses, cattle out of the affected farms."

That's why we too had to keep a distance of over a hundred feet but these photos - provided to us by the BAHA inspectors who checked the same cows - shows what it looks like. The tell tale signs are the abrasions on the gums, but there are other symptoms:

Dr. Miguel Depaz, Director Animal Health BAHA
"For vesicular stomatitis - the clinical signs would be vesicles and where do you see the vesicles? It's on the lips, in the mouth - meaning the pallet, the gum, the tongue. You could get vesicles on the tip of the udder and just above the hoof - the culinary band, we refer to that area as the culinary band, you could get vesicles there and so the animal would be salivating, the animal would have lameness. Those are the signs that farmers should look for. If the farmer sees those signs - they should call BAHA or the ministry of agriculture. It's transmitted by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are the vector of the disease. In other words you could control the disease by eliminating breathing grounds of the mosquitoes. At this time we have identified the affected districts to be Cayo and Stan Creek, hopefully we do not see it in the north. Nevertheless it's a zoonotic disease meaning that it can be transmitted from human to animal - the live animal can transmit the disease to human if the human is in close contact with that animal, a human would have flu-like symptoms in other words headache and a fever, muscle aches. This disease - vesicular stomatitis if we confirm it should disappear in about two weeks' time, that's the period that the disease would last - two weeks."

"I am very sure that we will contain and given the dynamics of the disease, in two weeks' time the disease on its own should disappear - that's the time period it lasts so I am definitely sure we will contain it."

They will contain it, but the village Chairman and an elder - who also don't do interviews - explained that it won't be in time to save this community from major losses particularly with their 600 pigs, 100 of which are coming up for slaughter in the next few days - but can't be slaughtered because of the quarantine leading to losses estimated to be in excess of ten thousand dollars for this community of 50 families.

And while they worry about their livestock, BAHA is worrying about the similarities between this endemic disease and a another far more exotic and troublesome disease

Jules Vasquez
"Is there a lurking fear in your mind that it may be something exotic like foot and mouth?"

Dr. Miguel Depaz, Director Animal Health BAHA
"Well with vesicular diseases you have to think foot and mouth disease, I must say that with lots of precaution because it could have serious implications but you have to think foot and mouth disease although that has never been reported in Central America. Foot and mouth disease have never been reported."

And BAHA is anxiously awaiting the results of samples sent to Panama to confirm that it is not foot and mouth disease, which would be the only good news coming out of this situation.

So far, horses in lower Barton Creek have not been quarantined because this would cripple the community. In the words of one village elder to us, "it would be like taking away your cars and phones."

BAHA warns that human infection may develop from exposure to infected animals when proper precautions are not taken. The white tailed deer and small mammals may be infected in the wild.

Belize frequently reports vesicular stomatitis at the start of the dry period, usually in the Cayo District. The last major outbreak happened in 1997 and that year, they had to ban animal displays at the Agriculture Trade Show. In 2004, it was reported for the first time in the Orange Walk District.

Most times, farmers don't even bother reporting the disease as it is self-limiting with infected animals showing rapid improvement within 3 days and full recovery by 2 weeks.

After a bout of it, livestock can be cleared or slaughter without any adverse health risks. And hoping that this is vesicular stomatitis - we'll keep in touch with BAHA to find out the results of the samples sent to Panama for testing….

Channel 7


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#401042 - 02/25/11 03:31 PM Re: Cattle, Pigs Affected By Vesicular Stomatitis [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
BELIZE PRESS OFFICE
●Phone: 822-0094 or 0092 ●Fax: 822-2671 ● website: www.governmentofbelize.gov.bz

Vesicular Stomatitis

Belmopan, 24th February, 2011. The Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) highly suspects that cattle in the Cayo District and pigs in the Stann Creek District are infected with Vesicular Stomatitis, a disease known as “sore mouth” in Belize.

Tissue from vesicles of the infected cattle and pigs were submitted to the regional reference laboratory “Laboratorio de Diagnostico de Enfermedades Vesiculares” (LADIVES) in Panama. BAHA awaits confirmation of Vesicular Stomatitis. Farmers first reported the disease on the 22nd February and there have been three (3) reports from different villages in the Cayo District and one (1) report from the Stann Creek District.

This disease causes vesicles in the mouth, teat and feet of infected animals and primarily affects horses, cattle and pigs but may also affect humans. Affected animals show excessive salivation, mastitis and lameness. Human infection may develop from exposure to infected animals when proper precautions are not taken; the disease in humans is influenza-like with fever, headache and muscular ache; and it rarely results in vesicles. The white tailed deer and various species of small mammals may be infected in the wild.

The disease may be transmitted by mosquitoes, contact with infected animals and movement of people, animals, plants, vehicles and equipment. There is no vaccine available for Vesicular Stomatitis and control is obtained through quarantine of affected farms and movement restrictions. Livestock owners may treat their infected animals with mild antiseptic mouthwashes as this tends to bring comfort to the animal and allows for more rapid recovery.

Vesicular Stomatitis is known to occur in the Americas and is frequently reported throughout Central America. Belize frequently reports the disease at the start of the dry period. When the disease is reported it is usually reported in the Cayo District. The Belize and Stann Creek District have reported the disease during major outbreaks, the last major outbreak having occurred in 1997. In 2004, Belize reported the disease for the first time in the Orange Walk District. This report was due to the improved surveillance implemented by BAHA and not due to the disease occurring for the first time. Farmers tend not to report the disease as it is self-limiting with infected animals showing rapid improvement within 3 days and full recovery by 2 weeks.

Vesicular Stomatitis, though it is a relatively mild disease, is important because it cannot be differentiated in the field from Foot and Mouth Disease. Thus the disease is notifiable in Belize, meaning that anyone who suspects the disease because of excessive salivation, lameness or presence of blisters in mouth, teat or feet must report it immediately. Reports can be submitted to any office of BAHA or the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Further information can be obtained from BAHA offices in Orange Walk, Belize City and Central Farm or with any registered veterinary surgeon.
---------------
Attention Editors:
For more detailed information, please contact the Belize Agricultural Health Authority at
501-824-4899 or 501-824-4872; ask for Dr. Miguel Depaz, Technical Director of the Animal Health Department.
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#401043 - 02/25/11 03:32 PM Re: Cattle, Pigs Affected By Vesicular Stomatitis [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

There was mad cow, foot and mouth, now sore mouth cows

There are two major vesicular diseases that can affect cattle; the deadly foot and mouth disease and the vesicular stomatitis. The two viruses display similar symptoms among cattle, horses and pigs. And tonight at farms in the Lower Barton Creek area of Cayo, there are worrisome signs that the animals may be affected by what is commonly referred to as the sore mouth disease. On Wednesday the Belize Agricultural Health Authority quarantined three areas in Cayo. News Five’s Marion Ali visited two of them today and filed this report.

Marion Ali, Reporting

The disease, Vesicular Stomatitis, known as Sore Mouth Disease locally, is suspected to be present among cattle and horses in the west of the country. Since last week, three locations in the Cayo District have reported symptoms among their farm animals and there is a possibility that the disease could spread to pigs.

The symptoms are similar to the deadly foot and mouth disease, which has never been detected in Central America and the Belize Agricultural Health Authority, BAHA, feels that it is the milder virus, Vesicular Stomatitis, on the other hand, has been detected locally over the years and test results are expected soon.

Miguel de Paz

Dr. Miguel de Paz, Dir., Animal Health, BAHA

“We recently sent some samples; it should take about three days before we get confirmation from the reference laboratory in Panama. At this tim, we highly suspect vesicular stomatitis. There are other diseases that resemble this disease, so at this time its suspect vesicular stomatitis. We have the farms under pre-quarantine; in other words, we are not allowing the movement of pigs horses cattle out of the affected farms.”

Marion Ali

“Now how contagious is this disease? How deadly is it?”

Dr. Miguel de Paz

“The disease is important because it resembles other exotic diseases. This one that we suspect, we refer to it as an endemic disease—we normally get it every year. And the farmers are very familiar with this disease. They call it sore mouth. The mortality is low. You can eat the meat, the meat is wholesome, it’s good to eat. Nevertheless, it is a zootomic disease meaning that it can be transmitted from human to animal—the live animal can transmit the disease to human and if the human is in close contact with that animal, a human would have flu-like symptoms.”

While the disease is not life-threatening to humans or animals, it does have other serious implications, such as economic pitfalls. Chairman of Lower Barton Creek area, Isaak Firezen, says that currently between fifty and sixty heads of cattle from two camps in that area are suffering from the disease. But because the entire area has been quarantined for thirty days, no sale of cattle or pigs can take place from those farms. This converts into losses in the tens of thousands of dollars because while cows will graze in open pastures, pigs will need to be fed for the quarantine period. And once they have surpassed their recommended weight, they begin to depreciate in value. In the meantime Director of Animal health at BAHA, Doctor Miguel de Paz says farmers should look for signs to contain the virus from spreading.

Dr. Miguel de Paz

“The clinical signs would be vesicles and where do you see the vesicles? It’s on the lips, in the mouth—meaning the palette, the gum, the tongue. You can get vesicles on the tit of the other and just above the hoof of the coronary band. So the animal would be salivating, the animal would have lameness. Those are the signs that farmers should look for. If the farmers see those signs, they should call BAHA or the Ministry of Agriculture and we will respond. The other thing for the farmer to do is to isolate that animal just for it not to transmit to other animals.”

The disease was first noted last week when Svea Dietrich-Ward noticed lameness in Almira, one of her breeding mares at Central Farm.

Svea Dietrich-Ward, Horse Breeder

“We thought the mare had been bitten by a scorpion because the nose was sore. And I asked Doctor Tesecum to look at her, which she did. And she also had a swelling and then the next thing she started having saliva around the lips and she was careful eating.”

Svea Dietrich-Ward

Marion Ali

“How is she doing now?”

Svea Dietrich-Ward

“She is improving now. The swelling has gone down.”

Doctor de Paz says the disease should disappear within two weeks. Marion Ali for News Five.

As we said, the results are expected in the next few days and we will have an update on this story.


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#401692 - 03/04/11 03:58 PM Re: Cattle, Pigs Affected By Vesicular Stomatitis [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Cows moo about vesicular stomatitis, not milk

Last week, the Belize Agricultural Health Authority, BAHA, imposed a quarantine on three areas of the Cayo District where cows and a horse had shown signs of a vesicular disease. The authorities were hoping that the culprit was the less severe of two types of diseases and today the results are just back from the lab in Panama. Farmers and agricultural authorities can breathe a sigh of relief that the virus affecting their farm mammals is Vesicular Stomatitis or Sore Mouth Disease, and NOT the deadly Foot and Mouth Disease, which has never been detected in this region. Director of Animal Health at Central Farm in Cayo, Dr Miguel de Paz, told News Five this evening that while the disease has been contained only to the Cayo District, other areas within that district have reported similar signs in their animals. Vesicular Stomatisis is passed on through the bite of some insects and can be transmitted from animal to animal or even to humans. The disease is reported in Belize every year, but the fear was that this year it would spread to other areas. Those affected areas are: camps four and six in the Lower Barton Creek Mennonite community and a private ranch along the Western Highway.

Channel 5


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#401702 - 03/04/11 04:11 PM Re: Cattle, Pigs Affected By Vesicular Stomatitis [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Sore-Mouth Not Foot And Mouth

But its open season for vesicular stomatitis or "sore-mouth" as it is known locally. As we told you last week, areas of Stann Creek and Cayo have been quarantined because of an outbreak of what appears to be this seasonal disease in cattle, pigs and horses.

But there was a concern that it could have been the much more serious foot and mouth disease. Well, tonight we can tell you that it is not. The samples came back from testing in Panama this morning and confirmed that it is vesicular stomatiis.

The news is a great relief to the Belize Agricultural Health Authority, because there are regular outbreaks of this and the affected animals usually get over it in two weeks. The quarantine remains in place at affected farms until the animals get better - which should be shortly.

Channel 7


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