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Jan 27, 2015

Avian Flu Confirmed in One Poultry Farm in the West

Today at the conference room of the Central Health Region in Belize City, representatives from the Belize Agricultural Health Authority, the Poultry Industry and the Ministries of Agriculture and Health gave an update on the presence of Avian Influenza Type A in western Belize. On January fifteenth, two poultry farms in Spanish Lookout, Cayo District – specifically a broiler breeder and a layer flock – were quarantined after the virus was reportedly detected during a routine test. Samples were sent to an International Reference Laboratory in the U.S. and it is now confirmed that there is Avian Influenza H-five N-two antibodies in only one of the farms. There have been no positive results for the live virus. However, C.E.O. in the Ministry of Agriculture and Chairman of BAHA, Jose Alpuche, told the media today that continued testing has detected the presence of the avian flu in another farm, but samples have been sent abroad for confirmation. 


Jose Alpuche

Jose Alpuche, C.E.O., Ministry of Agriculture

“The avian influenza emergency disease response plan was immediately activated. Samples from these two farms were sent to an OYE reference laboratory in the U.S.A. for confirmation. Official results received on Friday twenty-third January confirm the presence of Avian Influenza H-Five N-Two 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 A.I. Type A in one additional farm. Samples from this farm have been sent to the OYE reference laboratory for confirmatory test. Presently these farms are under quarantine and no poultry or poultry products can be taken out of these farms.  I would like to emphasize that ongoing tests by BAHA in other commercial flocks in other parts in Belize have confirmed that they are free of avian influenza. Let me stress that this is an agricultural health issue affecting poultry only. Even within the two affected farms, very limited clinical signs have been observed and no mortality in birds have been reported. While it is too early to identify the source of the infection, two possible sources could be….one through migratory wild birds or two, by the use of vaccines. We are yet to determine the cause. To finalize, I would like to reassure the general public that poultry meat and eggs are very safe to consume.”

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