More than 100 livestock have been diagnosed and treated for foot-and-mouth disease in Pursat province’s Bakan district in recent weeks, with officials saying they have limited resources to check if the disease has spread to other animals.
Chat Sarun, a livestock officer at the province’s agriculture department, said more than 100 cows and buffalo started showing symptoms like weight loss and sore feet starting mid-November. Officials treated some of the livestock with antibiotics, but villagers had to pay for treatment of the remaining cattle.
“We have asked the villagers to keep their animals healthy. Because we do not have enough medicine or vaccine – it is very expensive,” he said.
Sarun said he was worried that the disease would spread, and had asked villagers not to transport their livestock and to keep them secluded.
“We have educated people to not let [infected] animals roam freely, and to separate them from healthy cattle,” he said.
Moung Ol, a village chief the district’s Talou commune, said some villagers had already started selling infected cows for lower than market prices.
“People have started selling them to brokers. We usually used to get 2 million riel [about $490], but now we are only getting 1.5 million riel,” he said.
Personally, he has six infected cows, he said, adding that while he did not want to sell them at a loss, he did not have the money to treat them.
Ministry of Agriculture spokesman Lor Raksmey could not be reached for comment yesterday.