Thousands of Birds Die of Mystery Disease in Kampong Thom

Chea Takihiro and Jonathan Cox / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Ducks hang at a farm on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. Thousands of ducks were culled last November after many became sick from a mysterious illness. Reuters

Thousands of chickens belonging to CP Cambodia Co. Ltd. have died after an outbreak of a mysterious disease in Kampong Thom’s Stueng Saen district. Government officials said they do not know yet whether any of the deaths were caused by the H5N1 virus, also known as bird flu. So far, no humans have been infected.
The outbreak has lasted since last week, with estimates of the number of birds killed ranging from 5,000 to 15,000. CP Cambodia said yesterday that they plan to cull the remaining 500 chickens living on the ground zero farm today. 
Kimny Chour, the deputy chief of the Veterinary Office at Kampong Thom’s Department of Agriculture, said that analysts do not yet know what killed the birds, and that there is still no sign that it was bird flu. 
“We have received no confirmation yet that the animals had bird flu,” said Ly Sovann, spokesman for the Ministry of Health. “No suspected cases have been found among humans.”
In the midst of the crisis, the CP Cambodia farm where the birds fell ill has continued to operate, though the government has warned them to improve their hygiene standards. “The farm is small and it is not up to standards,” said Mr. Chour. CP Cambodia could not be reached for comment.
Though no cases of human infection have been reported yet, local residents told Kampuchea Thmey reporters that they were angered to find several bags of dead birds floating in their river yesterday. Many of the dead chickens had been placed in canvas bags and gathered for burning. But local stray dogs grabbed some of the bags and dragged them into a nearby river.
“Local farmers helped put the dead chickens in bags to be burned, but this time, the dogs brought it to the [river],” said Mr. Chour. 
Government officials are continuing to keep a close eye on CP Cambodia’s farms as well as neighboring farms, to ensure that no more birds catch the mysterious illness. “We will continue to monitor the situation,” said Mr. Chour. 

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