PHNOM PENH, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- The Cambodian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), with the help from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), will hold a series of market forums on avian influenza to prevent and control the disease, said a press release on Tuesday.
The first forum will be held in Kampong Thom province on Aug. 13 and another 13 forums will be organized in major live bird markets this year, with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Germany.
In the joint release issued by MAFF and FAO, Kao Phal, director of MAFF's Department of Animal Health and Production (DAHP) said "The forums will help market managers, poultry vendors, butchers and middlemen understand the importance of practicing bio-security measures in order to protect their source of livelihood from the threat of avian influenza."
Prime Minister Hun Sen has asked MAFF to focus on bird flu control and prevention in poultry in order to reduce the risk of human infection, he added.
Meanwhile, Lotfi Allal, FAO chief technical adviser, said that "most live bird markets have poor hygienic practices posing the greatest potential health threat to traders and consumers alike."
A market study commissioned by FAO found that only 40 percent of market sellers interviewed packed and took their poultry waste to the disposal bins.
"Human activity through trade and markets is one way of spreading avian influenza so it is important that poultry traders understand the risk posed by live bird markets and by common practice such as mixing ducks and chickens," said the advisor.
"Ducks are natural reservoir for avian influenza. They can be infectious without looking sick and can spread the disease to other poultry and humans," the advisor added.
At the forum, speakers from MAFF, the Ministry of Health and FAO will explain how bird flu can be transmitted through the live bird markets and what can poultry traders do to prevent and control its spread, said the press release.
To prevent bird flu transmission in the market, poultry traders will be encouraged to adopt measures including "buy and sell only healthy poultry, always keep ducks and chickens separate on the farm, on transport and in the market, keep transport cages, egg boxes and market stalls clean," said the press release.
The fourth of all Cambodia's seven human death cases so far over bird flu was a chicken seller who reportedly collected some dead chickens from the area surrounding her school and was sellingthem. The 20-year-old woman from Banteay Meas District in Kampot province died on April 19, 2005.