BAHA says livestock are being affected by rabies
The Belize Agricultural Health Authority says there has been a significant increase in rabies cases among Belizean livestock. In an advisory, BAHA tells livestock producers to vaccinate their animals against Rabies if they have not been vaccinated in the last six months. Rabies is a highly fatal disease caused by a virus that can affect humans and all animals except birds. Many wild animals carry the virus without getting sick but can infect domestic animals. In Belize, the vampire bats and the grey fox are the main sources of the virus. Love News spoke to the veterinarian for the Belize Livestock Producers Association, Dr. Andre DePaz about this condition today.
Dr.Andre DePaz, Veterinarian, Belize Livestock Producers Association: “Earlier in January we got two confirmation, two cases of bovine rabies in the north in Orange Walk. A farmer called me and reported that one animal was down and a new one about seven months and an older animal of about three years was acting fierce, partial paralysis, ataxia which is incoordination. So I responded and arrived at the farm one was already dead and the other one was really showing the nervous signs so I proceeded the euthanize the animals and got the samples. I took those two samples to BAHA’s laboratory in Central Farm and in about twenty four hours we had results and both were positive at a farm so that was concerning and BAHA has now issued that release since two are at that farm and Orange Walk farmers have been reporting a lot of deaths recently. So we as an association have advised farmers, we constantly tell them and send them messages, we have a group chat with all the farmers around the country about vaccinating their animals. Rabies is 100% preventable by vaccinating but it doesn’t have a cure so we urge them to vaccinate and avoid those losses. Once a farmer observes these signs Sialorrhea which is excessive salivation, ataxia which is incoordination, lameness usually they get paralyzed on the hind legs they have trouble getting up and walking so farmers could call us at BLPA or BAHA Veterinarian and we will respond to the case with no charge. Sometimes farmers believe that their animal when they see animals salivating the first thing they would think is probably the animal has something stuck in their mouth or their throat and they will want to open and check, we advise farmers not to come in contact with the salivation especially because the virus is in the saliva.”
The Rabies virus attacks the nervous system and infected animals may present nervous signs which may include a change in behaviour, excessive salivation, the appearance of choking or gagging, incoordination, lameness, bellowing and nervous twitching.