Friday, February 22, 2013

Cambodia: Angkor Chey Commune Finds No #H5N1 Infected Poultry, No Cull Done

February 22, 2013
“We’re all working in emergen­cy phase,” said Lotfi Allal, team leader of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization’s Emergency Center for Transboundary Animal Disease in Phnom Penh.
Dr. Allal said the main task is to prevent the spread of the disease in poultry—an uphill battle given the underreporting of the disease by Cambodian farmers.

Rural people are hesitant to no­tify the authorities about their sick ducks and chickens because when their poultry are culled, they receive no compensation for their loss.

“We acknowledged long ago there are big weaknesses in this field,” Dr. Allal said, referring to the reliance by authorities on local farmers to voluntarily report possible H5N1 outbreaks.

So far, no poultry cull has been or­dered in Angkor Chey commune where the latest victim lived, an official said.

“We did not find bird flu in the location where the children died so we did not incinerate any poultry,” said Khoy Khun Huor, Kampot provincial governor, speculating that diseased chickens may have been brought into the commune from other locations, which may have infected the child.

Pa Mon, Angkor Chey commune chief, said commune authorities were disseminating information about bird flu and preventing residents from transporting poultry in and out of the commune.
“Dealing with backyard poultry is much more difficult than commercial farms—which is easier to contain,” Dr. Allal explained. “The farmers are not reporting and un­fortunately children play with chick­ens, which is why they’re the ones mainly infected.”

Sok Touch, head of the communicable disease department at the Ministry of Health, declined to comment.

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