Pig Disease Contained; Pork Sales Still Down

The recent outbreak of “blue-ear pig disease” in two districts of Siem Reap province has been successfully contained, but consumer demand for pork in the province has not recovered, a senior official said.

Provincial governor Khim Bunsong said Tuesday that animal health officials have succeeded in stopping the outbreak of the disease, but that people were still consuming less pork than before.

“We have stopped all outbreaks already, so there are no more outbreaks because our animal health officials have gone down to all places where the problem is to prevent the disease from spreading,” he said.

Still, he added, “we have seen that people in the province have stopped eating pork temporarily” for fear of eating sick animals.

Officials on Sunday explained that infected pigs were being separated from healthy ones and were receiving treatment.

On Sunday, the director of the province’s agriculture department, Moeung Sonithya, said the disease had killed more than 1,000 pigs and sickened nearly 3,000.

Despite assurances from the department that the disease posed no threat to humans, fears over the outbreak have caused people in Siem Reap to avoid all pork.

Sun Salen, finance manager at the Apsara Angkor Hotel in Siem Reap City, said the hotel has placed restrictions on serving pork.

“I told our cooking staff to buy fish, beef and chickens or other types of meat instead of pork,” he said. Before the outbreak, the hotel was buying an average of 7 kg of pork a day.

Heang Lech, a pork vendor at the city’s Central Market, said he usually sells between 200 kg and 300 kg of pork a day for up to 15,000 riel (about $3.75) per kg.

“The problem has affected my business a lot,” Mr. Lech said, noting that the disease has cut his sales to less than 30 kg a day.

“Even though I sell pork from healthy pigs, people still feel afraid that there could be problems affecting their health,” he said.

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