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#500008 - 01/16/15 07:02 PM Avian Influenza in Spanish Lookout
Marty Offline
As a result of BAHA’S active surveillance for Avian Influenza, a limited outbreak of Avian Influenza Type A in poultry has been detected in two (2) farms in Spanish Lookout. Containment measures already in effect prohibit poultry and poultry products from exiting the affected farms. There are very little clinical signs in the affected birds and this suggests a low pathogenic infection . BAHA has heightened its surveillance at all other poultry farms.

Samples have been sent to a reference laboratory in the USA for confirmation and subtyping. BAHA expects to have the results in 4 days. Further updates will be provided as information becomes available.BAHA, Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture, Ministry of Health and the Poultry Industry are collaborating in a coordinated response against this limited outbreak. Commercial and backyard poultry farmers across the country are encouraged to step up their bio-security measures and to notify BAHA of any unusual occurrence in their flocks.

BAHA wishes to reassure the public that poultry meat and eggs are safe for human consumption. BAHA and its partners are taking all the necessary measures to address this disease outbreak. Although it cannot be confirmed at this time, wild bird migration is the most likely source of the infection.

Enquiries can be made by calling the helpline number – 605-2100. Contact person is the Chief Veterinary Officer.

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#500408 - 01/28/15 09:54 AM Re: Avian Influenza in Spanish Lookout [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Avian Infuenza Causing Poultry Farm Losses

Two weeks ago we reported on the poultry samples from two farms in Spanish lookout that were tested for avian influenza. Well the results are in and the samples have tested positive for Avian Influenza antibodies.

But don't fret, your chicken and eggs are safe!

A press briefing was held today to reassure the public that: 1.) the actual full-blown virus has not been detected in the samples - so there is no cause for alarm and 2.) The results of this test will not impact supply or price of chicken and eggs. Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Miguel Depaz outlines some of the key measures put in place to ensure that these cases are contained.

Jose Alpuche, CEO - Ministry of Agriculture
"Official results received on Friday 23rd January, confirmed the presence of Avian Influenza H5N2 antibodies in one farm. No live virus has been detected as yet. BAHA's ongoing testing of other farms in the Spanish Lookout community, has detected the presence of AI type A in one additional farm. Samples from this farm has been sent to the OIE reference laboratory for confirmatory test. Presently, these farms are under quarantine and no poultry or poultry products can be taken out of these farms."

Dr. Miguel Depaz, Chief Veterinary Officer
"We have immediately implemented control measures and one of the first measure that we implemented was the precautionary quarantine at the two infected farms and we even are protecting a wider zone by putting three check points at strategic locations which is controlling or restricting the movement of poultry and poultry products and we are even disinfecting trucks that we consider high risks. So, we do have control to contain this infection in those two farms. At this time we have not detected in any other farm despite massive sampling. We are not seeing any mortality and we are yet to determine the extent in any, in the population near those two infected farms. It's only until we get all of that information, we will be able to make decision in how to move forward."

About 12,000 high valued birds are infected from these 2 farms in Spanish Lookout - that translates to about $600,000 dollars. Other farms in Blue Creek and Shipyard have been tested but results have shown no sign of infection. BAHA would like to reiterate that poultry products are safe for human consumption and further research and sampling will be carried out at the two farms in Spanish Lookout.

Channel 7


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#500546 - 01/31/15 10:02 AM Re: Avian Influenza in Spanish Lookout [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

BAHA seizes $600,000 worth of breeder hens to contain bird flu outbreak at Spanish Lookout

An outbreak of bird (Avian) flu detected in the Cayo District last weekend has sent BAHA, the Belize Agricultural Health Authorities into overdrive.

Over the weekend BAHA confiscated 12,000 infected breeder hens, said to be worth $600,000.

BAHA called an impromptu press conference to explain this week that the outbreak in the Cayo district will not affect poultry products for public consumption.

Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Jose Alpuche, joined with BAHA to explain lab testing results of the chickens in the Spanish Lookout area and their implications for the rest of the country.

Official results obtained last Friday confirm the presence of Avian Influenza H-Five N-Two antibodies at one chicken farm. No live virus has been detected so far, Alpuche said.

He said the incident is an agricultural concern; not a public health issue, though the Ministry of Agriculture has been collaborating with the Ministry of Health through out the entire process.

Chief Veterinary Officer for BAHA, Miguel de Paz, explained that even though the influenza subtype is the same that caused severe losses to Mexico’s poultry industry, the antibodies found do not give the impression that the situation will escalate to that magnitude.

“The public also doesn’t need to worry about human transmission because it has never been recorded in history that H5N2 has ever affected humans.

“It’s not impossible but highly unlikely,” de Paz said with confidence.

He added that the Ministry of Agriculture has in place a national action plan for dealing with bird flu, which took effect at the first detection of the virus.

Quarantine zones were immediately set up and check points established to restrict the movements of poultry products out of Spanish lookout.

Testing is ongoing at the farms where the antibodies were first detected and in the surrounding areas.

While BAHA does not know how the virus came to affect the chickens, the authority suspects either wild bird migration or an attempt at vaccination.

Through BAHA’s tests, 12,000 chickens were found to have antibodies of the virus. Those birds have been confiscated by BAHA. These birds are special breeding chickens used to produce chickens for consumption.

According to the Belize Poultry Association, these birds are valued at $600,000 because they are breeder hens.

The highly pathogenic influenza A virus subtype H5N1 is an emerging avian influenza virus that has been causing global concern as a potential pandemic threat….

H5N1 has killed millions of poultry in a growing number of countries throughout Asia, Europe, and Africa. Health experts are concerned that the coexistence of human flu viruses and avian flu viruses (especially H5N1) will provide an opportunity for genetic material to be exchanged between species-specific viruses, possibly creating a new virulent influenza strain that is easily transmissible and lethal to humans. The mortality rate for humans with H5N1 is 60 percent.

The first H5N1 outbreak occurred in 1987. Since 1987 there has been an increasing number of HPAI H5N1 bird-to-human transmissions, leading to clinically severe and fatal human infections.

Because a significant species barrier exists between birds and humans, though, the virus does not easily cross over to humans, though some cases of infection are being researched to discern whether human to human transmission is occurring. More research is necessary to understand the pathogenesis and epidemiology of the H5N1 virus in humans.

The Reporter


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