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Rabies and Blackleg vaccination for cattle strongly recommended

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Press Release – March 25, 2020 – Belize Agricultural Health Authority, Animal Health Department – Given the current spike in cases of Rabies and Blackleg in cattle in various regions of Belize, the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA), in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Health and Belize Livestock Producers Association, once again advises livestock producers to vaccinate their animals against Rabies and Blackleg. Cattle farmers are reminded that these vaccinations must be done on an annual basis.

Rabies can be transmitted to humans and is a highly fatal disease that affects all mammals and can be prevented through annual vaccination of animals and post-exposure treatment to humans. Affected animals will usually show nervous signs and aggressive behavior. Most animals will show excessive salivation as swallowing becomes impossible. Avoid coming in contact with animals showing these symptoms and immediately call BAHA.

Blackleg is also highly fatal disease in cattle. In most cases, the animal is found dead without being previously observed sick. The speed with which blackleg kills usually makes individual treatment useless. It is caused by the bacteria clostridium chauvoei which is found naturally in the soil. The animal usually dies within 12 to 48 hours. Characteristic signs observed during postmortem is swelling of large muscles and bloody saliva.

Both Rabies and Blackleg are 100% preventable by using the Rabies and Blackleg vaccine. Farmers are encouraged to use the seven-way Blackleg vaccine available at most farm supply stores. As with all vaccines, it is of utmost importance that the cold chain be maintained, otherwise vaccination will be ineffective.

For further information contact the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) or the Belize Livestock Producers Association (BLPA) at:

BAHA, Central Farm:  824-4872
BAHA, Orange Walk: 302-1388
BLPA, Belmopan:       822-3883

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