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Cambodia Sets up Bird Flu Control Zones

07 March 2014

CAMBODIA - The agriculture ministry has established two 'H5N1 Contamination Zones’ in a bid to control avian flu in the capital city, Phnom Penh and the province of Kandal.

The Ministry of Agriculture has created designated bird flu contamination zones in Phnom Penh and Kandal province following the deaths of hundreds of birds due to the H5N1 virus, officials have told The Cambodia Daily.

Agriculture Minister, Ouk Rabon, signed two directives late last month saying that poultry being moved in or out of a 3-km radius from the outbreak epicentres had to be tested to prevent further spread of the virus.

In 2013, a total of 26 people contracted bird flu from dead or sick poultry and 12 died. So far this year, five cases in humans have been confirmed, and one boy has died from the disease. Health officials believe that the boy’s sister was also infected with bird flu, but she died before she could be tested.

Sieng Borin, Phnom Penh agriculture department chief, said that about 200 chickens, ducks and geese used for research at the Cambodian Agriculture Research and Development Institute in the capital’s Dangkao district had to be culled and burned on 19 February to prevent a possible spread to other poultry or birds living in the area.

“Right now, there is no bird flu outbreak anymore because we took measures immediately,” Mr Borin said, adding that poultry was still not allowed to enter or leave the facility due to the bird flu zone the ministry had created.

A second zone has been established in Kandal province’s Koh Thom district where almost 200 ducks have died since 15 February, Hing Hieng, Kompong Kong commune chief, told the newspaper.

“There were about 180 ducks that we burned after they died at the house of a farmer who kept them,” Mr Hieng said.

“We are concerned about the outbreak because [bird flu] can take people’s lives,” if the virus spreads from poultry to humans, he said.

Lotfi Allal, team leader of the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization Emergency Center for Transboundary Animal Disease in Phnom Penh, said that ducks are a main carrier of the virus.

“Ducks are a main concern because they can carry the virus for a while and not all of them die. With chickens, they die shortly after” contracting the virus, making it less likely that they spread H5N1 to other poultry or humans, Mr Allal said.

Between 2004, when the virus was first detected in Cambodia, and late last year, a total of 40 outbreaks of H5N1 in poultry have been confirmed, he said, adding that outbreaks are declared as soon as a single bird tests positive.

“When there is an outbreak, the containment measures are always culling and disinfection of the area, the restriction of movement of poultry, and people in affected areas are not allowed to re-raise [birds] for 30 days,” Mr Allal told The Cambodia Daily.

Further Reading

You can visit the Avian Flu page by clicking here.

ThePoultrySite News Desk

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