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Cross-Border Eggs a Bird Flu Worry

Many duck eggs are imported from Vietnam to Cambodia during the night, across the porous border at Takeo province’s Kirivong district from An Giang province, but health officials worry the illegal trade could increase the risk of avian influenza.

Of 254 deaths of bird flu worldwide since 2003, 52 have occurred in Vietnam. Seven have come from Cambodia. That discrepancy has led to fear of Vietnamese birds and eggs and a ban on their import and export since the first outbreaks of the disease.

However, trade continues, as egg importers bribe corrupt police and soldiers at the border, Nhem Chanreaksmey, Kirivong chief of animal health for the Ministry of Agriculture, told VOA Khmer.

This is a worry for the spread of bird flu, he said.

Border police and military officials could not be reached for comment.

Kirivong Governor Toeuk Tong Lim denied reports the eggs came over the international border crossing, saying the government has taken strict measures to carry out the ban.