Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Two avian flu outbreaks in northwest

Two avian flu outbreaks in northwest

A man walks past ducks at Phnom Penh’s O’Russey Market. A World Organisation for Animal Health report has said nearly 9,000 ducks in the Kingdom are susceptible to avian flu after a recent outbreak.
A man walks past ducks at Phnom Penh’s O’Russey Market. A World Organisation for Animal Health report has said nearly 9,000 ducks in the Kingdom are susceptible to avian flu after a recent outbreak. Hong Menea

Two avian flu outbreaks in northwest

Two outbreaks of H5N1 avian flu have hit thousands of ducks in Siem Reap and Battambang provinces, according to data from the World Organisation for Animal Health published on Monday.

About 2,100 infected ducks died in Battambang and 180 more in Siem Reap as of November 12, according to the organisation’s report. Currently, 8,800 ducks in the country remain susceptible to the illness.

The infected birds came from free-ranging backyard flocks.

“After having been informed by the owners that their duck flocks were sick and were dying, the district and provincial veterinary services went there to investigate and took some samples,” the report reads. “The result of test samples were confirmed positive with H5N1.”

The latest outbreaks have yet to spread to human patients, according to Ly Sovann, director of the Health Ministry’s Department of Communicable Disease Control.

“We sent our response teams yesterday to monitor the human health of those who live in or near the affected areas,” Sovann said. “Up to now, they collected five suspected human samples but all were negative.”

The last detected human case of H5N1 avian flu in Cambodia was in March, said Sovann. The Ministry of Agriculture has not yet given a reason for these latest outbreaks.

At least 100 ducks remain sick in Siem Reap’s Puok district, according to district animal health official Marn Cheb. They were among the 6,500 ducks who arrived from Banteay Meanchey’s Mongkol Borei district on Sunday.

“After arriving in Puok district, some ducks started to get sick and some of them died. Seeing the ducks dead, the owner separated the sick ducks to a separate cage, then informed the district officials,” Cheb said.

Prum Vich, chief of the Agriculture Ministry’s animal health and production office in Siem Reap, said that the ducks were transported to the district under heat and heavy rain, and the sick ducks will be buried to prevent the disease spread.

“The flu cannot spread to humans if we know how to prevent it correctly,” he said.

Agriculture Ministry officials in Battambang were not available for comment yesterday.

According to Sovann, H5N1 is a “high-mortality” disease, which killed five people out of a total of nine cases in 2014.

The World Health Organization found that in human cases, the mortality rate hovers at around 60 per cent.

Nonetheless, the disease has “limited transmission”, Sovann said. People become infected by eating sick birds or touching contaminated surfaces.

“If any people cough or have a sore throat, please visit a health centre or hospital and inform them about the history of contact” with sick birds, said Sovann.

Additional reporting by Igor Kossov

MOST VIEWED

  • Khmer New Year holidays postponed

    In an effort to halt Covid-19 infections in the Kingdom, Prime Minister Hun Sen has postponed the Khmer New Year holidays scheduled from April 13 to 16. While the people will not have their usual break, nor will there be any public celebrations or gatherings at pagodas,

  • Private schools struggling

    The Cambodian Higher Education Association has claimed that 113 private educational establishments are facing bankruptcy because of their inability to pay rent and staff salaries in light of nationwide school closures caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. It said the financial trouble started when the Ministry of

  • NA, Senate set for bill on ‘emergency’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested the Senate to convene an extraordinary meeting to review the draft law that aims to put the Kingdom in a state of emergency after the bill reached the National Assembly (NA) on Friday. The draft law, which was approved

  • Temporarily laid-off workers to get just $70

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced changes in the allowances for temporarily laid-off garment workers from receiving 60 per cent of the minimum wage to a flat $70 because factories cannot pay, he said. Workers will also not be required to attend training courses after more than 100 factories

  • Tourists can now prolong their stay

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said tourists holding Visa T and arriving in the Kingdom after January 1 will be allowed to prolong their stay until they are able to return home. The decision comes as Cambodia and most countries take measures to

  • PM: Law likely next week

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the draft law aiming to place the Kingdom in a state of emergency amid the Covid-19 pandemic is likely to be approved after the Khmer New Year, though he said there is a slim chance of enforcement given the current