Equine Encephalomyelitis Outbreaks in Belize

Friday, February 15th, 2013

VACCINATION FOR HORSES STRONGLY RECOMMENDED

Equine EncephalomyelitisPress Release – Belize Press Office – February 15th, 2013 - The Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) strongly recommends to all horse owners throughout Belize, and especially in the Northern and Western Regions, to vaccinate their horses against Venezuelan Equine Encephalomyelitis.

BAHA has confirmation from the USDA laboratory in Iowa, USA that the Venezuelan Equine Encephalomyelitis virus is currently circulating in Belize. Outbreaks have been detected in the Corozal and Cayo Districts. The viral disease is
transmitted by mosquitoes and alternate infection of birds or rodents and mosquitoes maintain the virus in nature. Equine Encephalomyelitis viruses can also cause infection in humans.

The risk of infection can be reduced in horses by vaccination and housing horses in screened barns, particularly during the hours of high mosquito activity. Repellents and fans can be helpful. Measures to prevent mosquito bites, including the use of repellents and protective clothing (that is, long pants and long-sleeved shirts) can reduce the risk of infection in humans.

Additional information can be obtained from BAHA veterinary officers and the Ministry of Health.

For more information, contact:

Miguel DePaz, DVM
Director of Animal Health
Animal Health Department
Belize Agricultural Health Authority
Phone (work): 824-4899/4872
Fax: 824-4889

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