Ministry Confirms Two New Bird Flu Cases

Confirming on Tuesday that two new cases of avian influenza were discovered some three weeks ago in Cambodia, the Min­istry of Agriculture gave mixed re­ports regarding the disease’s continued presence in the country’s poultry.

In a statement dated April 9, but obtained from the Ministry of Agriculture only on Tuesday, the ministry said birds at family farms in Village 6 in Kompong Cham province’s Kompong Siem district, and Kab Nim village in Sam­raong district, Takeo province, had tested positive for bird flu.

The ministry received the results from the Pasteur Institute on March 26 and April 2, the statement said.

On Monday, however, Suon So­thoeun, deputy director of the ministry’s Department of Animal Health and Production, said there have been no new bird flu cases in Cambodia since he returned from a business trip to Italy on April 3.

Contacted Tuesday about the min­istry’s April 9 statement, he said he had not read it.

The Kompong Cham case was first reported March 27, Suon Sothoeun said, and the department’s surveillance teams were dispatched to the area.

He did not say when the Takeo case was reported.

San Vanty, deputy director of the Agriculture Ministry, said Tuesday that the surveillance teams have not culled any birds near the outbreak sites in Takeo and Kompong Cham, though they would do so “if it’s necessary.”

Earlier this year, observers criticized the ministry’s handling of the disease, calling into question the consistency of reports and surveillance.

Officials from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, which manages a trust fund of donations to help Cambodia fight bird flu, declined to comment Tuesday.


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