FAO receives $1.9 mln from USAID to fight bird flu in Cambodia

    PHNOM PENH, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) -- The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has received an additional 1.9 million U.S. dollars of grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to control and prevent the spread of the highly pathogenic avian influenza in Cambodia, said a press release here on Thursday.

    FAO will use the grant to support ongoing activities of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to control avian influenza at its source in domestic poultry and waterfowl in the next two years, said the FAO release.

    "A major component of this project is the training of veterinary staff and village animal health workers (VAHWs) in the techniques of surveillance, and the recognition and systematic recording and reporting of suspected cases," said Dr. Guy Freeland, Team Leader of FAO Avian Influenza Control Programme in Cambodia.

    FAO will start in November a routine surveillance of wild birds with the U.S.-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), focusing on sites and waterfowl species selected for their association with past outbreaks and the likelihood of mingling or sharing habitat with domestic fowl.

    "The aim was to collect and test some 3,000 wild bird samples during this six month period," Freeland said.

    Cambodia has had 22 outbreaks in poultry since 2004 and seven human deaths. The latest outbreak in poultry and in human was reported in Kampong Cham in April 2007.