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New Year Meals Raise Fears of H5N1

In preparation for the Chinese New Year, Cambodia is taking maximum precautions against a possible bird flu outbreak, due to the huge demand for poultry over the holidays.

The government has banned imports of chicken from neighboring counties, followed recent outbreaks of bird flu in Thailand and Vietnam, according to a health official.

Many Cambodians will celebrate the Lunar New Year and often used chickens and ducks as religious offerings to their ancestors.

In 2006, Cambodia experienced its last reported avian flu viruses, however, the country has been diligent in combating the spread of the outbreak.

Since 2003, only a handful of people (6) have died of the H5N1 epidemic. Cambodia has been praised by the United Nations for its rapid action against bird flu, which has helped spare it from the human and poultry deaths suffered by its neighbors.

Within the last three years, the deadly epidemic has killed over 150 people across the globe.