Rabies Advisory from BAHA

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

The Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) informs the public, particularly cattle producers, that paralytic rabies continues to affect cattle in the Cayo, Orange Walk and Belize Districts.

The disease is known to be transmitted by the vampire bat. Therefore, humans, domestic animals and wildlife are susceptible and at risk, especially in the known outbreak areas.

Prevention and control measures are being implemented throughout the affected districts, in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Belize Livestock Producers Association. These measures also require assistance from the public:

1. Belize District cattle farmers.
Cattle farmers, especially those of the Belize District are advised to vaccinate their cattle against rabies as an increase of incidence is currently being noted.

2. Prevent exposure by not handling any wildlife. Do not handle bats, foxes, and any other wildlife. Farmers should not go into caves, abandoned buildings or rat bat roosting sites to try to control vampire bats. Such dangerous practice can expose them to the rabies virus. While the Ministry of Health is providing post-exposure vaccination to humans exposed to the rabies virus, it is best to prevent exposure in the first place.

3. Vaccination of cattle against rabies.
a. Livestock should be vaccinated using vaccines for which the cold chain has always been maintained. Vaccine suppliers should not sell vaccines unless it is packaged in proper containers to maintain the cold chain. Farmers should keep the cold chain through to the place of vaccination of animals and not use the vaccine after two hours of opening it. Do not store used vaccines.
b. Cattle farmers are encouraged to vaccinate their young animals once they are three months of age. Do not wait until the next vaccination cycle to vaccinate calves born after you had vaccinated the herd.

4. Vaccinate your dogs and cats for rabies. The Ministry of Health and BAHA are vaccinating dogs and cats in all outbreak areas at designated vaccination sites. People are encouraged to ensure that their dogs and cats are current in their vaccination for rabies.

5. Please report all suspect cases in animals immediately to BAHA. BAHA, Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Health (Public Health) can be contacted at any of their district offices.

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