In a timely response to a concerning outbreak, nearly a thousand vaccinations have been administered to cattle in Banteay Meanchey province’s Preah Netr Preah district.

The move came after experts discovered the presence of Pasteurella multocida, a penicillin-sensitive bacterium, in a number of the animals.

Pang Vannaseth, head of the provincial agriculture department, explained the coordinated effort involving local authorities and disease specialists. Together, they vaccinated 945 cattle, both infected and uninfected, against foot and mouth disease (FMD) as well as lumpy skin disease, across nine villages in the district.

Following the detection of Pasteurella multocida in over 200 cattle, the vaccination initiative was launched. According to Vannaseth, the disease was mostly identified in cattle near the Tonle Sap Lake, with losses of 30 animals already reported.

Affected cattle showed distressing symptoms including flatulence, swelling in their groins and tongues, and constipation. Vannaseth stressed the potential for disease spread without timely preventive action.

“Our officials, working alongside community medics, reached out to the villages to treat the infected cattle,” said Vannaseth.

However, some difficulties were encountered due to the cattle farm owners’ hired help who did not give proper attention to the situation.

“Despite this, we’ve seen the cattle’s conditions improve with treatment initiated in advance,” he added.

Aside from providing treatment, the officials continued to monitor the animals’ conditions and worked closely with local authorities and animal health agents. Part of their ongoing effort involved spraying farms with disinfectants to safeguard the health of the cattle.

Taing Sin, an agricultural science research officer from the Royal Academy of Cambodia, explained the disease’s transmission among cattle, typically flaring up at the start or end of the rainy season.

“The disease can be fatal, with affected animals often found swollen,” he said, noting that it mainly affects cattle and pigs, with buffalos being especially susceptible.

Sin was keen to reassure the public about their health, stating that the disease cannot be transmitted to humans through the consumption of meat from infected animals. However, he did caution that such consumption could still pose a potential public health risk.

“In my view, this preventive vaccination measure was a smart decision and the most effective way to prevent the spread of the disease,” he said, emphasising the importance of vaccination in maintaining the health of the cattle population.