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Jan 31, 2012

BAHA monitors Guatemala swine fever

Miguel DePaz

In other news, there’s an outbreak of swine fever in pigs in Guatemala and the disease is inching closer to Belize. It is common among pigs and wild boar and causes fever, skin lesions, convulsions and death within fifteen days. The Belize Agriculture and Health Authority (BAHA) has been monitoring the situation in Guatemala and has implemented cautionary measures. But if the highly contagious swine fever makes its way across the border, it could mean huge losses for the pig industry. Dr. Miguel DePaz, the Director of Animal Health says the disease was detected in Guatemala months ago, but that country has been unable to contain it and the spread is now out of control.

Dr. Miguel DePaz, Director of Animal Health, BAHA

“The disease started on the thirty-first of October 2011; the first case was diagnosed and reported somewhere around that date. Since then it has spread throughout the country of Guatemala, excluding the state or the department of Petén, which is adjacent to Belize. So it allows some time to implement certain measures.”

Delahnie Bain

“What are the measures being implemented?”

Dr. Miguel DePaz

“First of all we have to consider how the disease is spread. The disease is spread by the movement of live animals, meaning live pigs and pork products. Not only that, but also the movement of what we call fomites and fomites could be tools, trucks for example and we consider trucks to be of high risk; the trucks that are moving from Guatemala to Belize and Belize back to Guatemala. So we’re implementing measures such as cleaning and disinfection of trucks at the points of entry.”

Delahnie Bain

“And so far it has not been detected in Belize?”

Dr. Miguel DePaz

“So far we have not the disease in Belize. Ever since we got the news about the outbreak, we have been doing surveillance, meaning the officers have been going out to the adjacent villages, down south and here in the west, taking blood samples to ensure that the disease has not entered into Belize.”

Delahnie Bain

“And what would be the effects of the disease should it be detected here?”

Dr. Miguel DePaz

“The disease only affects pigs; it does not affect humans, but the consequences of the disease is devastating. It could cause a hundred percent mortality in pigs. At the same time, there’s the other form of the disease which the virus is not too virulent and does not cause the high mortality but causes problem in reproduction and production. Should that disease actually come in, we would have to take measures such as destroying the pigs. In Guatemala they have destroyed over seven thousand pigs because of the disease, trying to control the disease but I understand it’s out of control at this point in Guatemala so BAHA and the Ministry of Agriculture is on high alert.”

Dr. DePaz says that BAHA and the Ministry of Agriculture are teaming up with police and B.D.F. to set up check points to ensure that the cautionary measures are followed. A meeting will also be held with the truck drivers to educate them about the new procedures.

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2 Responses for “BAHA monitors Guatemala swine fever”

  1. the real issue says:

    Sorry people but the swine flu strain has already affected Belize. The test results show that we have a “SUPER BREED” of the swine flu. While not known to affect humans, this super swine flu bug has affected people in Belize. It has mainly affected politicians…as it can be clearly seen that they are a bunch of pigs rolling around in their own verbal crap!

  2. x says:

    BAHA and the DOA need the BDF to get involved. All available BDF units need to be deployed to the border. Increase the number of units in the Jalacte area and all other informal and formal border crossings. Ban all livestock coming or going to Guatemala. Nothing in nothing out. BAHA says they are disinfecting their livestock trucks, but it is not worth the risk of allowing them into Belize. Belize farmers that export to Guatemala will have to shift to Mexico or bight the bullet for now until the Guates have their situtation under contrrol. A short term lose of income is better than whiping out a whole industry in Belize.

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