Two more cases of bird flu in Israel, ministry points to migrating birds

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Two cases of bird flu have been detected in two locations across Israel, the Agriculture Ministry announced on Thursday.The first case was diagnosed at the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem, in a swan.Following the positive test, all of the winged animals were taken into isolation,, in accordance with Agriculture Ministry procedure, when strains of influenza are encountered within a population of birds. The ministry said that they are working closely with the Biblical Zoo to contain the outbreak as the virus harms wild populations of birds, as well as livestock and poultry alike.The second case was discovered within a chicken coop in Kibbutz Revadim. The ministry placed the coop in isolation and put further restrictions on farms within the area, to prevent the outbreak from spreading to further locations. The chicken coop houses around 19,000 birds.Dr. Ram Katz, Chief Physician of Poultry Health at the Veterinary Services division of the Agriculture Ministry, placed closures on chicken coops within a 10 kilometer radius of the infected coop. Ministry officials will routinely monitor the populations of birds amid the quarantine.Last week, the Agriculture Ministry found another instance of the viral spread, when they discovered chickens infected with the bird flu in Kibbutz Ma’anit in northern Israel

The affected chicken coop was also closed by the ministry and nearby farms were placed under restrictions.

The strain of bird flu that was found within the swan as well as the other bird populations was H5N8. It has yet to be found to infect humans. The similar strains that have been found across the country lead the ministry to believe that the separate populations of birds contracted the virus from birds that migrate and pass over Israel during this time period, spreading the flu to different parts of the country.The ministry recommends that at this time, farm owners keep their poultry and livestock indoors and refrain from letting them roam in open areas, in order to reduce the risk of infection from the wild bird population.

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