Three dead ducks found in Kampot province’s Angkor Chey district this week have tested positive for avian influenza, but officials sent to the scene said Friday that their efforts to detect further cases have been hampered by villagers hiding their fowl.
An outbreak was suspected after more than one hundred ducks in Samlanh commune were found dead in recent days, provincial health department Director Lim Kang Eang said. Samples were taken from three of the ducks to Phnom Penh’s Pasteur Institute and they tested positive on Wednesday.
“We are concerned there is an epidemic [among birds] in other villages,” Lim Kang Eang said.
Ministry of Agriculture officials were subsequently dispatched to the area to conduct cullings, but villagers were angry with them because they killed chickens without paying compensation, said provincial animal health department deputy director So Vitou.
“Some nearby villages may have been trying to hide their chickens,” he said.
Cambodia and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization have agreed to develop a system to replace culled chickens. This system has not yet materialized.
“I told the villagers we are acting on the basis of the law,” So Vitou said. “The agriculture ministry does not have a compensation policy.”