Ministry of Agriculture Gets Rid of Rabid Bats
Livestock farmers continue to battle with rabies that has been circulating among their animals. The highly contagious and fatal virus is primarily spread by vampire bats. While it is a concern for the farmers, the Minister of Agriculture, Jose Abelardo Mai, says that this is a common occurrence in Belize and is nothing to be alarmed about. Minister Mai explains the measures that the ministry is taking to combat this issue.
Jose Abelardo Mai, Minister of Agriculture: “Rabies is caused by a vector. It is a virus called Rhabdoviridae. It is transmitted mostly by vampire bats or bats that suck blood and then they transmit this disease. You’ll have sporadic cases every year especially near the border in Guatemala, the Cayo district sometimes in Stann Creek and every year there is a small outbreak or farmers would report you know I have rabies symptoms, animals expressing the symptoms for rabies. So what we would do in this case is that BAHA and the inspection officers both do vampire bat trapping to trap the vampire bat population, we paste them with a certain chemical and release the back in the wild. They are supposed to go back and eliminate the vampire bat population because they live in colonies. So that helps a lot so we also encourage farmers that if there are outbreaks in the area that they must vaccinate and that is something that should be done every year by the cattle farmers.”