Gaza bird flu tests turn out negative

Head of agricultural division at Erez: Israel will monitor the situation.

gaza bird flu 298.88 (photo credit: Associated Press)
gaza bird flu 298.88
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Tests conducted by Israel's veterinary services of samples of blood and saliva from livestock and dead wild fowls found in Gaza last week have proven negative, quelling fears of a possible outbreak of hoof and mouth disease and bird flu in Gaza. Uri Madar, head of the agricultural division at the Erez district coordinating office, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that while the test results were negative, Israel would continue monitoring the situation closely. According to Madar, the dead livestock received from Palestinian Authority officials last week had all been dipped in formulin, a chemical that destroys all germs and makes testing close to impossible. "Our veterinary services did not find any suspicions that supported fears of a possible outbreak in bird flu. This does not mean, however, that it will not occur," Madar said. "I asked my Palestinian counterparts to maintain surveillance in Gaza, and the minute they discover dead fowl to immediately notify me. I also told them not to dip the dead carcasses in formuline," he said. While tests for foot and mouth disease proved negative, as a a precautionary method, Israel provided the Palestinians with the necessary vaccines, he said. Last Wednesday, Madar transported the samples of blood, saliva and dead fowls to the veterinary services laboratory in Beit Dagan after Palestinian officials notified him that 12 to 13 dead fowl had been discovered in the Khan Yunis area and feared it might signify an outbreak of bird flu. Days earlier, reports were received regarding outbreaks of bird flu in Egypt.