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Dec 31, 2008

Newcastle Disease continues to spread

Story PictureLast month we reported that the poultry farms in Spanish Lookout were experiencing losses in chickens because of the Newcastle Disease that had been affecting primarily their laying hens. While the Belize Agricultural Health Authority stepped in and disposed of over thirty thousand chickens to prevent the disease from spreading, it appears that they were not quite successful. The disease has now spread from the Spanish Lookout area to other areas in the Cayo District, and as far as Dangriga and villages in the Belize District such as Burrell Boom and Double Head Cabbage. Today BAHA’s Director of Animal Health, Doctor Victor Gongora, says they have been further inconvenienced in trying to eliminate the disease because of the past extended Christmas weekend. However, he assures that early in the New Year, they will spring into action and that stringent measures are now in place for chicken handlers.

Voice of Dr. Victor Gongora, Dir., Animal Health, BAHA
“It is what we would call endemic in the country now, meaning that we’re living with the disease but at the same time because it causes problems we have to not just ignore it we need to take proper measures to control it and the control measures are vaccination. Because of the Christmas season labs were closed and it wasn’t very easy to make contacts but beginning next week we will have everything in place to start vaccination of backyard poultry. We’re doing movement control so we’re requiring the people that are moving anything to do with poultry, live chickens or table eggs, fertile eggs or processed chicken, they will need a permit from BAHA to move their chickens. This is so that we know the movements where things are moving from and where they’re going to, to indicate that we need to take fast action we know exactly where to go.”

Gongora says even if infected backyard chickens reach the dinner table it cannot cause digestive problems because the disease is eliminated when the bird is cooked. However, chicken handlers can develop a mild eye infection if they come in contact with infected poultry. If you suspect that your backyard chicken may be infected, Gongora urges you to call the BAHA offices in Belmopan to get free supplies of the vaccination.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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