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Bird Flu Confirmed in Takeo, Culling Begins

Health authorities rushed to kill all the ducks in a Takeo province village on Wednesday, after samples of dead birds showed positive for avian influenza.

At least 10,000 ducks have so far died in Koh Andeth district, and officials expected to cull thousands more on Wednesday. Officials were focusing on Pralay Meas village, the suspected epicenter of the disease.

“We must kill all the remaining ducks in the village,” said Kao Phal, director of the Ministry of Agriculture’s veterinary department. “We must quickly complete our mission today.”

Tests on samples of dead ducks, which were among 10,000 discovered dead on Saturday, came up positive for the H5N1 virus, better known as bird flu.

The virus was likely transmitted from wild birds to the ducks, which were kept in open spaces, especially among rice fields, natural lakes and ponds and sparse forests, he said.

Nearly 50 officials from the ministries of Agriculture, Health, Environment and Commerce, as well as the National Authority for Disaster Management, joined the Food and Agricultural Organization, World Health Organization and local authorities to help trap ducks for culling.

The birds will be collected in sacks and thrown into large holes in the ground, where they are soaked with fuel and burned, sprayed with anti-viral chemicals, and finally buried.

Meanwhile, separate teams of officials were searching houses Wednesday for people who may be ill will symptoms of the disease, which can pass from birds to humans, including fever, coughing, muscle aches and sore throats.

Avian influenza has killed seven Cambodians since 2005, with one man surviving a bought of the disease in 2008. Bird flu has killed more than 200 people in Asiasince an outbreak began in 2003.