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Aug 5, 2021

African Swine Fever Detected in the D.R., What Does it Mean for Belize?

Jose Abelardo Mai

African swine fever is a highly contagious hemorrhagic viral disease of domestic and wild pigs, which is responsible for serious economic and production losses.  The porcine virus was recently detected in the Dominican Republic, and while it is not present in Belize, the Ministry of Agriculture is wasting no time raising public awareness on the transboundary animal disease which can be spread by live or dead pigs.  This afternoon, Minister Jose Abelardo Mai spoke about what it means to the region.


Jose Abelardo Mai, Minister of Agriculture, Food Security & Enterprise

“On July 28th, 2021, animal health officials in the Dominican Republic confirmed the presence of the dreadful disease of pigs, African Swine Fever.  Reports are that samples sent to Plum Island confirm that the disease was present in two farms that were geographically separated.  It is the Americas first cases in forty years.  Today, it is reported that the deadly disease which causes a hundred percent mortality in pigs is present in eleven of the thirty two provinces in the Dominican Republic and is further spreading.  The Dominican Republic government is restricting movements and is mobilizing the military to contain the spread of African Swine Fever.  The U.S.A., Mexico, CARICOM states and the Central American countries are on high alert and are tightening border checks and restricting the movement or pork and pork products. As a country, we cannot afford to have this dreadful disease in our country and we at the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise, along with our local and international partners will do everything to keep it out.  We ask you the media and the public to join us in keeping this disease at bay.  The important facts to know are these: one, this disease, African Swine Fever, is not a zoonotic disease.  This means that it is not transmitted from animals to humans.  I will repeat, this disease is not a zoonotic disease. It is not transmitted from animals to humans. We have never had this disease in the country before.  We currently do not have this disease in the country today and lastly, we will do all we can to keep this disease out of the country.”

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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