Foot and mouth disease continued to spread through Kompong Cham province’s Kang Meas district in September even after animal health officials began vaccinating cows and training villagers in disease prevention, government officials said yesterday.
According to district governor Hong Heang, a survey of cattle taken from Sept 22 to 25 showed that 2,274 animals in his district had the infection. During the three days of the study, 49 animals died from foot and mouth, said Mr Heang, adding, however, that he felt the situation might be improving because the death rate had slowed.
In Kang Meas, 327 infected cattle died in August–some within hours of catching foot and mouth–as another 600 were infected. Although infected animals were also found in Kompong Cham’s O’Reang-ou and Prey Chhor districts in August, no severe outbreaks were recorded.
“Now it’s better because we have cooperated with the district animal health department to learn how to treat sick cattle and now the infected cattle can still eat,” said Mr Heang.
Heng Bun Yi, director of the provincial agriculture department, said yesterday that he believed that foot and mouth was affecting more animals than usual this year because of dry weather.
“This is not an annual disease,” said Mr Bun Yi. “It has occurred because of there being no rainfall and the villagers have now learned from the animal health department how to stop the virus from spreading.”
According to Mr Bun Yi, the number of cattle dying from foot and mouth has decreased by between 70 and 80 percent over the past two weeks.
Mao Saroeun, Raka Koy commune chief, said yesterday that 20 percent of the cattle in his commune remained contagious but that vaccination had helped slow the spread of the disease.
“The situation is much better since the animal health department intervened with vaccines and training for the villagers,” said Mr Saroeun, adding that villagers had begun to take action to protect their cattle from foot and mouth.