Press Release – Belize Press Office – February 15th, 2013 - The Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) strongly recommends to all horse owners throughout Belize, and especially in the Northern and Western Regions, to vaccinate their horses against Venezuelan Equine Encephalomyelitis.
BAHA has confirmation from the USDA laboratory in Iowa, USA that the Venezuelan Equine Encephalomyelitis virus is currently circulating in Belize. Outbreaks have been detected in the Corozal and Cayo Districts. The viral disease is transmitted by mosquitoes and alternate infection of birds or rodents and mosquitoes maintain the virus in nature. Equine Encephalomyelitis viruses can also cause infection in humans.
The risk of infection can be reduced in horses by vaccination and housing horses in screened barns, particularly during the hours of high mosquito activity. Repellents and fans can be helpful. Measures to prevent mosquito bites, including the use of repellents and protective clothing (that is, long pants and long-sleeved shirts) can reduce the risk of infection in humans.
Additional information can be obtained from BAHA veterinary officers and the Ministry of Health.
For more information, contact:
Miguel DePaz, DVM Director of Animal Health Animal Health Department Belize Agricultural Health Authority Phone (work): 824-4899/4872 Fax: 824-4889
Vaccination campaign against Equine Encephalomyelitis starts
Equine Encephalomyelitis outbreak
The Belize Agricultural Health Authority has begun a vaccination campaign in the north and western parts of the country, following an outbreak of Equine Encephalomyelitis. According to a press release issued at the weekend, BAHA has confirmation from the USDA laboratory that the Venezuelan Equine Encephalomyelitis virus is currently circulating in Belize, with outbreaks detected in the Corozal and Cayo districts. Love News spoke with Dr. Miguel DePaz who is the director of animal health at BAHA and asked him to explain what Equine Encephalomyelitis is.
There are no reported cases of the viral disease being contracted by humans in Belize; but Dr. DePaz says measures must be taken to ensure the safety of animals and people.
Measures to prevent mosquito bites, including the use of repellents and protective clothing are also being recommended to reduce the risk of infection in humans.