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10,000 Ducks Dead Near Vietnam Border

Cambodian agricultural authorities on Tuesday were testing samples of dead ducks, after 10,000 fowl were found dead in Takeo province near the Vietnam border.

The ducks, which were raised in open spaces in Koh Andeth district, are suspected to have died from avian influenza, officials from the Ministry of Agriculture said.

“We forbid villages from cooking dead or sick ducks for food, from touching directly dead or sick ducks, and from selling dead or sick ducks, in order to avoid a contagious disease,” said Kao Phal, director of the ministry’s veterinary department.

Authorities have not identified the cause of death, he said, but the thousands of dead ducks were put in a hole, sprayed with a chemical to kill viruses and then burned.

“We are studying more about the 10,000 dead ducks, and we are making an analysis on the cause of death for the ducks,” he said. Analysis could be complete as early as Wednesday, he said.

Avian influenza has killed seven Cambodians since 2005. A Kandal province man survived the disease in 2008. More than 200 people in Asia have died from the disease since 2003.

Kao Phal encouraged villagers to wear masks, gloves and socks when handling poultry or fowl, as authorities work to prevent the spread of the disease.

Health officials continue to travel from house to house in affected areas, looking for people who may be ill with fever, cough, muscle aches and sore throats, or who have had contact with sick or dead birds.