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Bird flu or Avian Influenza now confirmed in both Blue Creek and Shipyard – Will poultry at infected farms be killed and disposed of?

Posted: Wednesday, September 14, 2022. 11:00 pm CST.

By Benjamin Flowers: Breaking Belize News (BBN) has confirmed that Avian Influenza or bird flu has now been formally confirmed at a poultry farm in Blue Creek as well as at another farm in Shipyard.

On Tuesday, the Belize Agriculture Health Authority (BAHA) reported that “samples taken from a poultry farm in Blue Creek, Orange Walk district, tested positive for the bird flu on September 9 and that further testing revealed that the influenza was of the subtype H5”. Further samples were taken from the flock at the infected farm and on Wednesday afternoon BAHA confirmed via ‘antibody’ tests that Avian Influenza has indeed infected the farm in Blue Creek.

BAHA had also taken samples from another poultry farm in Shipyard where the birds were displaying similar symptoms, and both the Blue Creek and Shipyard farms had received poultry stock from the same egg source.

BBN spoke with the Chairman of BAHA, Hugh O’Brien who stated that “initial indications are that this current Avian Influenza subtype appears to be of low pathogenicity but this can only be confirmed after more specific test results are received from samples sent abroad”.

When probed as to whether the almost 25,000 birds at the Blue Creek farm and the couple thousand at the Shipyard farm will still be killed and disposed of, O’Brien stated that while BAHA has the legal ability to take unilateral action to depopulate the two (2) farms, a meeting is being held on Thursday in Blue Creek in an attempt to obtain consensus on the best precautionary actions to take. BAHA personnel, the local poultry farmers affected, and the Belize Poultry Association, amongst others will participate in the meeting.

The last Avian Influenza outbreak in Belize occurred in January 2015 with a low pathogenic form of the virus. Strict quarantine measures were instituted, 60,000 birds were killed and the measures instituted costed the Government of Belize and the poultry farmers approximately $6 million.

Breaking Belize News will continue to follow this developing story.


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