AUTHORITIES continued to destroy ducks and chickens on Thursday in the second day of a cull intended to prevent an outbreak of bird flu from spreading beyond Takeo province’s Pralay Meas village, agriculture officials said.
“We destroyed 50 ducks and 150 chickens in Pralay Meas village today,” said Thai Ly, Takeo province’s chief officer of domesticated animals.
Thai Ly said that authorities would continue the cull until all fowl in the village were eliminated.
“At that point, we will closely monitor the village [for infections] for the next 30 days and continue to ensure that no poultry is sold or trafficked through the area,” he said.
Thai Ly said that officials will soon hold talks with farmers and vendors across Koh Andeth district to discuss the ban on selling poultry and other temporary measures critical to containing the bird flu outbreak.
Nhib Sron, director of the Takeo agriculture office, said that almost all of the ducks in the village had been destroyed on the first day of the cull, allowing authorities to focus their attention on elusive and highly mobile chickens.
“There aren’t nearly as many chickens as ducks in the village, which makes them harder to pin down, compounded with the fact that unlike ducks they tend to walk around everywhere,” he said.
He said that as an additional precaution, the perimeter of the village was being sprayed with an antibacterial agent called TH-4, although the compound is not effective against viruses.
Nhib Sron also said that authorities planned to confine the cull to Pralay Meas village despite instructions from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to kill all poultry within 5 kilometres of the outbreak area.
“Within the 5-kilometre range, we are still going to enforce the commercial ban on poultry and teach people about the dangers of the disease,” he said, adding that no human infections had been reported.
On Wednesday local authorities and representatives from several ministries launched their response to the outbreak, which centred on a village-wide poultry cull that saw 710 ducks and 350 chickens eliminated by day’s end.
The ministry ordered the cull on Tuesday after several ducks killed in an unidentified outbreak tested positive for the H5N1 virus, commonly known as bird flu. Before the results were announced, more than 19,500 ducks had died and 35,000 had fallen ill.
Cambodia reported its first case of H5N1 in poultry in January 2004. Four human cases of bird flu were reported in Cambodia between February and May of 2005, all of them fatal. There have been nine known cases of bird flu in Cambodia. Two of them, including the case of a Kampong Cham man diagnosed in December, have been non-lethal.