AUTHORITIES in Kratie province say hundreds of cows and oxen have died since mid-April after becoming infected with blackleg, a disease that afflicts livestock.
Villager Phouk Hou said Tuesday that nearly 300 cattle have died in recent weeks, while thousands of others in his area have become sick.
“Vets have told villagers not to eat meat from those dead cattle. But some villagers have eaten it already,” he said.
“Six of my cattle died in late April. I have buried them all because I was afraid that they would cause a further epidemic.”
Phouk Hou said the cattle had bloated stomachs, swollen legs and diarrhoea.
The cattle “did not eat or drink until they died” he said, adding, “They just slept.”
Chet Borey District Governor Toun Ngork said authorities are trying to prevent the outbreak from spreading, but that the Health Ministry had so far not given local officials vaccinations for the disease.
“I have already reported the case to the provincial authorities, but we have not received medicine from the ministry yet,” he said.
“We have also advised all villagers to make their cattle drink only clean water and not to let their cattle scatter around in a disorderly manner in order to reduce the risk” of the disease.
Blackleg is caused by bacteria found in soil, particularly during warm, wet months, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation. It is considered to have a high fatality rate.