The Kampong Cham provincial health department is launching a campaign to educate people about bird flu, or H5N1, in order to prevent human contamination after an outbreak killed 200 chickens last week.
Kimsour Phirun, chief of the provincial health department, said yesterday that a bird flu outbreak caused many chickens to die, but that no human had been infected.
“Health experts are studying the area and informing people on how to protect themselves from the virus,” he said.
Mr Phirun said prevention is very important. People cannot touch or eat chickens that have died from the virus, including eggs from infected birds, he said. People should also wash their hands before every meal.
“If people develop symptoms such as a fever or sore throat, they should go to the closest health centre immediately,” he said.
Health department officials investigated the flu outbreak as well as every health care location in the district.
Khun Sambu, a 55-year-old chicken farmer in Koh Svay village, said many chickens died on his farm.
He said at first only ten chickens died. He took samples for examination at the provincial animal health department, but was told there was no infectious disease. However, the chicken death toll continued to rise.
“First I thought the chickens ate some tainted food, and then I thought it was the cold weather. That is also what my neighbour thought,” Mr Sambu said.
“The infection could propagate to my neighbour’s. We are losing a lot of money over this. Health experts have sprayed medicine to protect the remaining chickens and burned the others, and they will continue to monitor the situation.”
The Ministry of Agriculture reported that 200 chickens died. Officials collected two samples of chicken with H5N1 for examination.
Between 2005 and 2014, Cambodia saw 56 cases of human contamination with H5N1, resulting in 37 deaths.