Health workers pack dead chickens into trash bins at a wholesale poultry market in Hong Kong.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Agriculture Ministry workers have finished culling birds infected with avian flu at Aviel farm near Hadera, the ministry announced on Wednesday.
Although identification and elimination of the birds infected with the H5N1 virus is complete, the Agriculture Ministry said that landfill operations necessary to prevent the spread of the disease would take another 48 hours.
Meanwhile, cooperative treatment efforts continue across the border at affected farms in the Palestinian Authority, the ministry added.
H5N1 is highly contagious among poultry. The virus is zoonotic, meaning it could spread to humans. The first documented case in humans occurred in 1997, and it mainly circulates in Southeast Asia and northeast Africa.
According to data submitted to the World Organization for Animal Health on Sunday by Dr. Nadav Galon, chief veterinarian at the Agriculture Ministry’s Veterinary Services, 30,000 cases of H5N1 were identified in the birds at Aviel farm.
In Sunday’s report, Galon wrote that 141,000 birds were deemed “susceptible,” but that 61,000 located at a farm 350 meters away from Aviel had not been infected.
All poultry coops in Israel continue to undergo routine monitoring for the disease, while those within 10 kilometers of Aviel are receiving inspections from Agriculture Ministry representatives, the ministry said.
Officials from the ministry, as well as from the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria, continue to partner with Palestinian colleagues to curb the disease’s presence at farms in the West Bank.
Birds infected at the Serir poultry farm in the Jenin area all either died or were destroyed by Tuesday, a civil administration spokeswoman said. Also on Tuesday, the civil administration facilitated the transfer of 100 safety suits for those handling infected birds and 1,000 anti-viral Tamiflu pills for Palestinian farmers at risk of infection.
While 5,000 more infected birds were discovered in Beit Amin, south of Kalkilya, on Tuesday, all of these were culled by farmers, the spokeswoman said. Inspectors also began investigating potential infection in a Tulkarm coop.
The PA has adopted the Agriculture Ministry’s guidelines with regards to handling the disease, the ministry said.
Nonetheless, after the two newest cases arose on Tuesday, the ministry expressed a fear on Wednesday of potential outbreak in other West Bank locations.
“The Agriculture Ministry calls upon poultry growers to keep birds in covered and fenced cages and prevent them from wandering into open areas, to reduce the risk of infection to wild birds,” a ministry statement advised.