More than 50 cattle have died from an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in recent weeks in Kandal province’s Ang Snuol district, where it spread from one village to 11, raising concerns that the disease could proliferate, officials said yesterday.
The deaths began at the end of November, said Touch Phun, chief of Ang Snuol district’s Prey Puoch commune, where most of the 1,200 cattle are sick.
“Now we are scared of more sickness spreading to others,” he said, adding that the disease is robbing many farmers of a draft animal needed for the planting season and to haul their recent rice harvest.
“We are worried that villagers will lose more livestock for rice planting which brings them nearer to poverty.”
“Now most of our cattle are becoming sick,” he said.
Foot-and-mouth disease is highly contagious and can devastate animal populations at great speed. In 2001, foot-and-mouth led to the slaughter of more than six million animals in the UK.
Sam Norinleak, director of Ang Snuol district animal health office, said infection is spreading to the entire district and authorities have instructed farmers stop transporting cattle.
“I told cattle owners how to cure sick cattle in the area to [test] and treat them…and keep sick cows in isolation,” he said.
Bun Toun Sybona, provincial director of the agriculture department, downplayed the threat of the disease spreading and said the disease is under control.
“Now we are taking measures and we try to stop the spread of the disease by banning the transport of cattle and we assist them with [testing for the disease],” he said.