Israel slaughters thousands of poultry after avian influenza outbreak

Margaliot, Israel, Jan 3 (EFE).- Israeli authorities have slaughtered tens of thousands of chickens and turkeys in a bid to contain an outbreak of avian flu (H5N1) that has caused the death of thousands of wild cranes.

A third avian influenza hotspot was detected on Monday in the village in Margaliot, in northern Israel, where some 63,000 infected poultry were detected in just two days, according to the ministry of agriculture.

The avian influenza has been detected in farms in various parts of the country in the past two months, but the plague has recently spread to wild birds too.

In the Hula valley, abnormal mortality rates have been detected in the crane population after over 5,000 migratory cranes died last week.

Samples taken from the field confirmed the suspicion that they had died due to avian flu.

It was later discovered that an estimated one fifth of Israel’s crane population has so far been affected by avian influenza, according to the ministry of environmental protection.

The ministry of agriculture has warned “this particular flu virus is very aggressive to various birds and can cause widespread mortality,” causing a 50 to 60% chance of mortality among infected birds.

Israel’s environment minister Tamar Zandberg called the event “the worst blow to wildlife” in Israel’s history.

No cases of human transmission have been confirmed so far, the prime minister’s office said, and people working in contact with these animals are already receiving preventive treatment.

Since May last year, the avian influenza has been confirmed in 41 countries from different regions in poultry and wild birds, according to the World Organization for Animal Health. EFE


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