Belize Reports Newcastle Disease

BELIZE - The authorities have reported an outbreak of Virulent Newcastle disease - the first in the Caribbean region.
calendar icon 25 November 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

Agricultural authorities in Belize are moving swiftly to control an outbreak of the highly contagious Newcastle disease in poultry, according to Caribbean 360.

The Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) has revealed that it received official confirmation from the United States Department of Agriculture Laboratory in Ames, Iowa that poultry specimens submitted from Belize have tested positive for the disease.

It is the first time the virulent form has been found in this Caribbean country although the non-virulent form of the disease is known to occur in Belize with no economic loss in poultry flocks. Virulent Newcastle disease is a highly contagious, generalised viral disease of poultry and other birds. An outbreak in chickens may be so severe that almost all birds of an affected flock die within 72 hours without noticeable signs.

"The present outbreak is being controlled with the assistance of government authorities, industry and international organisations," a government statement said.

"The disease has no public health implications for people not occupationally exposed. The poultry meat is safe for human consumption. BAHA has stepped up inspection at all slaughter plants to ensure that all birds slaughtered are from healthy flocks."

The authorities have urged producers to inspect their poultry regularly, maintain good biosecurity practices and report suspicious clinical signs and unusual deaths promptly to BAHA, the Belize Poultry Association or the Ministry of Agriculture, concludes the Caribbean 360 report.

OIE Report

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has received a report dated 22 November from the veterinary authority in Belize. The report describes three outbreaks of Virulent Newcastle disease. All are located at Spanish Lookout in Cayo province in the west of the country. In total, 29,500 birds were involved on three farms of layers and broilers. The largest farm comprised 5 houses and all were reportedly affected.

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