The culling of poultry continued over the weekend in Takeo province’s Koh Andet district, where a total of 1,600 chickens and ducks have been destroyed in order to contain a recent outbreak of the H5N1 avian influenza virus in Romenh commune, agriculture officials said yesterday.
Thai Ly, chief of domesticated animals for the Takeo provincial agriculture department, said workers with the Ministry of Agriculture had gathered and incinerated about 400 more ducks and chickens since Friday, bringing the total amount of culled poultry to 1,600.
“We killed a total of 1,600 birds after the case of bird flu was found in Takeo and we are still educating villagers” about H5N1, Mr Ly said, adding that officials were stationed along a five-kilometer radius around Romenh commune to prevent the transport of poultry to and from the area.
Officials began culling poultry on Wednesday after samples from six ducks from Romenh tested positive for the H5N1 virus on Monday. According to the World Organization for Animal Health, Cambodia has marked 22 previous outbreaks of avian flu in poultry since 2003.
“For now the virus infection has only spread from animal to animal and now we are concerned it could affect humans if they are careless,” said Mr Ly.
Ly Sovann, deputy director for communicable disease control at the Ministry of Health, said no humans had been infected during the H5N1 avian influenza virus outbreak in Takeo.
“We have not seen any signs that villagers were affected,” he said.
Dr Lotfi Allal, chief technical advisor at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, said culling would continue until all poultry in the area had been destroyed.
“As there still is poultry in the area, in a one-kilometer radius they have to continue culling,” Dr Allal said.
He said no evidence had been found that the virus had spread beyond Romenh commune.
“So far, no H5N1 virus has been detected in any other area,” Dr Allal said, adding officials were continuing to investigate poultry up to 10 kilometer away from the area of the virus outbreak.