Simulation Exercise for Avian Influenza held in Toledo Print
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Thursday, 27 February 2014 00:00

A communication center was set up Wednesday of this week at the Community Center in Big Falls in the Toledo District to act as a coordinating center on a hypothetical outbreak of the Avian Influenza Virus. At the center of the activity is Dr. Miguel Figueroa, Director of the Food Safety Department within the Belize Agricultural Health Authority. In this simulation exercise, the participants include the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Health, Police as well as partners from the Belize Poultry Association, who have been reacting to an imagined outbreak of Avian Influenza.

According to the World Health Organization, humans can become ill when infected by the avian influenza virus subtype H5N1. This virus is currently circulating in poultry in parts of Asia and northeast Africa, which have caused human disease and deaths since 1997. The primary risk factors for human infection appear to be direct or indirect exposure to infected live or dead animals or contaminated environments. In the simulation exercise being conducted this week in Big Falls, the team is implementing all the control measures to contain the theoretical outbreak.