Bird flu reportedly kills 2,000 wild cranes and infects over 10,000 in Israel

About a fifth of wild cranes living in or migrating through Israel could be infected, authorities say

Vishwam Sankaran
Monday 27 December 2021 07:29
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<p>Gray Cranes fly above the northern Israeli Hula valley, an important point on their migratory path towards Africa, on December 26, 2021</p>

Gray Cranes fly above the northern Israeli Hula valley, an important point on their migratory path towards Africa, on December 26, 2021

A bird flu outbreak in Israel has killed over 2,000 wild cranes in the northern part of the country, an expert with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority says.

In addition to the dead birds, another 10,000 are believed to be infected, according to Ohad Hatsofe, a specialist at the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, AFP reported.

During this time of the year, hundreds of thousands of migratory birds gather at the Hula Lake Reserve in northern Israel as they pass through the region on their way to Africa.

Authorities reported last week that about a fifth of wild cranes living in or migrating through Israel could be infected with fatal bird flu.

They are expecting to clear away about 30-tons of crane carcasses and cull about hundreds of thousands of chickens in northern Israel as the virus spreads across the region, local news reports say.

The Agriculture Ministry has said the avian influenza H5N1 has been ravaging some chicken populations in northern Israel, and last week, the Ministry of Health urged people to take routine precautions before the consumption of chicken and egg products.

“The public is urged to only buy these products from regulated businesses and to make sure that eggs are stamped for veterinary supervision. Chicken meat and eggs must be thoroughly cooked before consumption,” the Ministry of Health noted in a statement.

It urged the public to maintain personal hygiene and to wash their hands well after handling chicken meat and egg products, and also to keep uncooked chicken meat or eggs well separated from other foods.

“Furthermore, the public is urged to take extra precautions to avoid contact with migratory birds and to maintain a safe distance from them,” the ministry noted.

While it is rare for H5N1 to spread among humans, there have been past outbreaks in which H5N1 has killed more than 450 people across the world since 2003, according to the WHO.

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