Posted: Wednesday, December 1, 2021. 6:39 pm CST.
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Officers of the Belize District Agriculture Station will roll out the poultry vaccination against Newcastle Disease in the Belize District rural area in Maskall on Thursday, December 2 at 8:30 a.m.
“The department will roll out the Newcastle Disease vaccination in rural communities in the district, commencing in Maskall, where there is a larger population of birds,” said Miguel Balan Acting District Agriculture Officer. “The objective is the prevention of future outbreaks and spread of the virus in other areas.”
The vaccination follows vaccination in Belize City on November 24 after small outbreaks in backyard poultry were reported in Belize City and the Toledo District.
“After completion, we move into the surrounding settlements of Bomba, Nago Bank, and Corozalito until we cover all the communities along the old Northern Highway with its junction to the Philip Goldson Highway.”
Balan said the Belize District Agriculture Station is asking all poultry producers, residents, and community leaders to cooperate with their field staff.
“Due to COVID-19, public awareness campaign, group and communal meetings has been limited,” said Balan. “The department is contacting key producers, farmers, and individual producers to assist in disseminating the vaccination schedules and routes in the respective communities for greater coverage.”
Balan said the vaccination is being conducted free of cost.
“During the vaccination campaign, the department will be updating the bird population to estimate the cost of supplies for the future permanent vaccination program.”
According to Balan, the technical team of the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) will be collaborating with the vaccination.
The Newcastle vaccines were acquired through the offices of the Poultry Association, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), and the International Regional Organization for Agricultural Health (OIRSA).
“The Newcastle Disease is caused by a virulent strain of paramyxo virus which can be spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected birds,” said the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Enterprise (MAFSE).
The vaccination of backyard poultry and other domesticated birds is “an emergency control measure implemented in the infected and control areas”. MAFSE said vaccines for the rest of the country will be subsequently made available through commercial outlets.
MAFSE said all poultry owners need to follow good biosecurity practices to protect their birds from infectious diseases.
“These include simple measures such as washing hands and scrubbing boots before and after entering a chicken coop or barn, cleaning and disinfecting tires and equipment before moving them off the property, and separating sick and vaccinated birds.”
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