An avian influenza adviser to the Ministry of Agriculture said Monday that officials are investigating the suspicious deaths of 14 swans and 13 chickens in two villages in Kandal province, days after a bird flu outbreak was confirmed in the area.
“The  swans died and 16 fellow swans got ill in Prek Eng commune, Kean Svay district, and 13 chickens died in Prek Ho village near Takhmau town,” Chau Khim said.
But, he said: “We cannot confirm bird flu until the laboratory tells us.”
Ly Sovann, chief of the Disease Surveillance Bureau of the Ministry of Health, said he had heard of the new poultry deaths in Kandal province.
He added that a man with flu-like symptoms was tested for bird flu over the weekend after two chickens tested positive for the virus in Takmau district’s Prek Russei commune on Friday.
The tests on the man proved negative, and the owner of the farm where the outbreak occurred does not have symptoms, he said.
The confirmed outbreak and the Jan 30 death of a 25-year-old Kampot province woman from bird flu had little affect on the poultry trade in Phnom Penh, as residents lined up on Monday to buy chicken to celebrate the Chinese New Year of the Rooster.
“People still flocked to get more chickens for the Chinese festival. I have sold more than a ton of chickens per day,” Phsar O’Russei wholesaler Ha Heang said. “The vet comes to inspect everyday, and they have found nothing.”
Chhun Na, a Phsar Kandal market vendor, said she bought chickens from Kean Svay district.
“We just bought chickens that were not ill,” she said. “I am also worried about the bird flu, but money is more important.”
Phsar Kandal vendor Nop Chanthy said she has sold 100 kg a day, down from a peak of 800 kg last Chinese New Year. Still, she maintained: “The radio said there is no bird flu.”
Chickens will not give people bird flu if cooked and handled properly. But live chickens in the two markets, splashing around in putrid water, could be contagious, Chau Khim said.