Thursday, February 24, 2011

BAHA Press Release: Vesicular Stomatitis

●Phone: 822-0094 or 0092 ●Fax: 822-2671 ● website:

Vesicular Stomatitis

Belmopan, 24th February, 2011. The Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) highly suspects that cattle in the Cayo District and pigs in the Stann Creek District are infected with Vesicular Stomatitis, a disease known as “sore mouth” in Belize.

Tissue from vesicles of the infected cattle and pigs were submitted to the regional reference laboratory “Laboratorio de Diagnostico de Enfermedades Vesiculares” (LADIVES) in Panama. BAHA awaits confirmation of Vesicular Stomatitis. Farmers first reported the disease on the 22nd February and there have been three (3) reports from different villages in the Cayo District and one (1) report from the Stann Creek District.

This disease causes vesicles in the mouth, teat and feet of infected animals and primarily affects horses, cattle and pigs but may also affect humans. Affected animals show excessive salivation, mastitis and lameness. Human infection may develop from exposure to infected animals when proper precautions are not taken; the disease in humans is influenza-like with fever, headache and muscular ache; and it rarely results in vesicles. The white tailed deer and various species of small mammals may be infected in the wild.

The disease may be transmitted by mosquitoes, contact with infected animals and movement of people, animals, plants, vehicles and equipment. There is no vaccine available for Vesicular Stomatitis and control is obtained through quarantine of affected farms and movement restrictions. Livestock owners may treat their infected animals with mild antiseptic mouthwashes as this tends to bring comfort to the animal and allows for more rapid recovery.

Vesicular Stomatitis is known to occur in the Americas and is frequently reported throughout Central America. Belize frequently reports the disease at the start of the dry period. When the disease is reported it is usually reported in the Cayo District. The Belize and Stann Creek District have reported the disease during major outbreaks, the last major outbreak having occurred in 1997. In 2004, Belize reported the disease for the first time in the Orange Walk District. This report was due to the improved surveillance implemented by BAHA and not due to the disease occurring for the first time. Farmers tend not to report the disease as it is self-limiting with infected animals showing rapid improvement within 3 days and full recovery by 2 weeks.

Vesicular Stomatitis, though it is a relatively mild disease, is important because it cannot be differentiated in the field from Foot and Mouth Disease. Thus the disease is notifiable in Belize, meaning that anyone who suspects the disease because of excessive salivation, lameness or presence of blisters in mouth, teat or feet must report it immediately. Reports can be submitted to any office of BAHA or the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Further information can be obtained from BAHA offices in Orange Walk, Belize City and Central Farm or with any registered veterinary surgeon.
Attention Editors:
For more detailed information, please contact the Belize Agricultural Health Authority at
501-824-4899 or 501-824-4872; ask for Dr. Miguel Depaz, Technical Director of the Animal Health Department.

VIP Vision Inspired by the People - promoting Unity Initiative

Chairman of the Vision Inspired by the People (VIP) party, Mr. Robert “Bobby” Lopez is requesting that all Town Boards and City Councils make public their financial statements as well as their proposed budgets for the upcoming fiscal year 2011-2012. “Bobby Lopez” hand delivered the letter to the San Pedro Town Council’s office on Monday February 21st and met with The San Pedro Sun to enlighten us about his party.

The VIP party started in 2000 in Belmopan with two members and grew to four in 2003, graduating to a full slate in 2006 and in 2009 garnered more votes than the
People’s United Party (PUP) in that election, and as such is considered the second party in Belmopan. Bobby commented, “In 2012 we are now gearing up for full participation across the country in all the town boards and two city councils that will have elections in 2012”.

The party aims to contact voters that have realized that they are totally fed up and are at the point of absenting themselves from participating in the elections. The VIP hopes to provide a third option. Lopez stated, “San Pedro is the most receptive so far, San Pedro actually did this in 1984 when they became a township- a group got together and formed the San Pedro United Movement (SPUM).”

Mr. Lopez informed us that prior to Monday’s meeting, the VIP party’s executives met with a fairly large group of islanders known to be active supporters from both major political parties where the Unity Alliance (UA) initiative was introduced. The UA initiative is an initiative of the people and encompasses bringing individuals form the community onboard to run the affairs of the people and taking partisanship out of the communities. The VIP sees transformation starting at the community level. This movement hopes to organize a non-partisan slate to contest the Municipal Elections in 2012.

Mr. Lopez explained that in an effort to be better prepared for the upcoming elections; “We are requesting disclosure of their finances and also a copy of their proposed budget for the last fiscal year 2011 - 2012 which goes into effect April 1st. We feel it is important that any slate wanting to run in a Town or City election know what the finances would look like so that that slate can start planning their campaign around that budget, with an idea of what the income and expenses will look like. Furthermore, we feel that towns and cities run the business of the people. They are our servants. We put them there to serve us and as such in keeping with the commitment to transparency and accountability to the people, and also in keeping in accordance with the freedom of information act, this information should be public knowledge and readily available.”

VIP works with an attitude to “TEK POLITICS OUT AND PUT PEOPLE FIRST”. VIP sees this UA initiative as a precursor to eventually having proportional representation in place. Proportional representation simply means that if a party has achieved a certain threshold of voters’ support then those voters receive proper representation all City Council or Town Boards. VIP hopes to provide the Belizean Public with cross the board representation, committing to transparency and complete accountability to all Belizeans. For more information about the VIP party please contact Mr. Lopez at 602-5885, 226-2960 or