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Sep 16, 2021

Disease killing poultry in Toledo and Belize District; No direct threat to Humans

The Belize Agriculture Health Authority is reporting two outbreaks of Virulent Newcastle Disease in backyard poultry in the Toledo and Belize districts. The government has notified the World Organisation for Animal Health and investigations are being conducted, but affected farmers are reporting high mortality rates. BAHA’s Central Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory detected the virus in samples submitted and these findings were confirmed by an OIE reference laboratory in Ames, Iowa. Following confirmation, an Emergency Task Force has been activated to implement control measures. The task force consists of government agencies and stakeholders including the Belize Poultry Association (BPA).  BAHA informs the public that Newcastle Disease is not a food safety concern and that no human cases of the virus have ever occurred from eating poultry products. Properly cooked poultry products are safe to eat.  In very rare instances people working directly with sick birds can become infected. The Toledo District and Belize City have been declared as infected areas and movement of poultry and poultry products from these infected areas is prohibited. Farmers are asked to report any high mortality in poultry to BAHA, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise (MAFSE) or the Belize Poultry Association.

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