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Sep 13, 2022

Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) Detected on Blue Creek Farm

The Belize Agricultural Health Authority has placed a poultry farm in Blue Creek Village under quarantine after detecting the Avian Influenza in its animals. The farm currently houses over twenty-five thousand chickens and is being monitored closely by BAHA officers. Containment measures have been put in place to restrict poultry products exiting the Blue Creek Community. A release from BAHA says that this is being done to ensure that the poultry industry is being protected against further introductions of the disease. Other measures being carried out include the implementation of movement control of live birds, eggs, and litter. We spoke over the phone with Miguel Depaz, the Director of the Animal Health Department at BAHA, late this evening.

 

Miguel Depaz

On the Phone: Miguel Depaz, Director of Animal Health Department, BAHA

“At this point in time we have identified only one infected farm with Avian Influenza in Blue Creek. The subtype is H5. When we diagnose either H5 or H7 we implement immediate control measures to control and eradicate the disease, given influenza is a viral disease, a very infectious, contagious that could have high mortality. We are not seeing the high mortality. There is some degree of mortality yes, but we must understand that the pathogenic of the virus can be either low or high. But, whether it is low or high it requires immediate action by BAHA to control the disease, because whether low or high it can create negative impact on the industry. We do not want to allow live poultry to move out of the area. We are uncertain what the situation is at the moment, so live poultry have the highest risk of spreading the virus and other products, processed products, less risk, but we still want to put some restrictions. In other words, a bird that goes to the slaughter house has to test negative for Avian Influenza. So, we are putting measures that reduce the risk of spread. With eggs, we have to ensure we test the layers so eggs would not be contaminated. Litter tends to be moved for fertilizing purposes. So, we want to prohibit movement of poultry liter.”

 

Paul Lopez

“Does the Influenza pose a risk to human health?”

 

On the Phone: Miguel Depaz

“Avian Influenza is a poultry disease but it is known to transmit to other species including transmission to humans. It has that potential. H5H7 is more a poultry disease but I must say it can be transmitted to humans, but the transmission is not through consumption, I must reiterate that and emphasize that point. You cannot get Avian Influenza by consuming poultry or consuming eggs. That is not the nature of how the virus spread.”


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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