The Avian Influenza or Bird Flu has been detected at a poultry farm in Belize and the Agricultural Health Authority there has placed it under quarantine
According to reports from that country, the farm in Blue Creek Village, northwest of the country, houses over 25, 000 chickens.
They said containment measures are also being put in place to restrict poultry products exiting the Blue Creek Community.
Avian flu or Bird flu is an infectious type of influenza that spreads among birds. In rare cases, it can affect humans.
A BAHA statement said 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.
Miguel Depaz, BAHA director of Animal Health Department said “At this point, 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. 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 a negative impact on the industry”.
Adding, “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 has the highest risk of spreading the virus, and other products, processed products, have less risk, but we still want to put some restrictions. 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”.
Depaz said Avian flu 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,” he said.