Two birds infected with H5N8 bird flu found in Israel

Last winter, an outbreak of H5N1 bird flu spread throughout Israel.

 Workers in protective gear seen in Moshav Givat Yoav, in northern Israel, December 29, 2021, following an outbreak of avian influenza (photo credit: MICHAEL GILADI/FLASH90)
Workers in protective gear seen in Moshav Givat Yoav, in northern Israel, December 29, 2021, following an outbreak of avian influenza
(photo credit: MICHAEL GILADI/FLASH90)

Two wild birds were found to be infected with the H5N8 strain of avian influenza this month in Israel, according to an Agriculture Ministry report to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

According to the report, a Eurasian Sparrowhawk was found near Petah Tikva and tested positive in mid-April. In early May, a White Stork which was found near Ruhama in southern Israel tested positive for the bird flu.

The Agriculture Ministry has not issued a statement about the new cases. No new cases have been reported since, although the report described the event as "ongoing." Before these two cases, the last time the H5N8 strain was reported in Israel was April 2021.

The new cases come just months after a large outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza swept through Israel during the winter with the last outbreak reported in February in northern Israel.

In mid-January, the Agriculture Ministry announced that the bird flu outbreak was under control.

A sign at the edge of an exclusion zone warns of the closure of a footpath after an outbreak of bird flu in the village of Upham in southern England, February 3, 2015. (credit: REUTERS/PETER NICHOLLS)A sign at the edge of an exclusion zone warns of the closure of a footpath after an outbreak of bird flu in the village of Upham in southern England, February 3, 2015. (credit: REUTERS/PETER NICHOLLS)

Bird flu outbreaks continue in North America, Europe

The new infections in Israel come as North America and Europe continue to suffer from one of the worst outbreaks of H5N1 bird flu ever recorded.

As of May 27, nearly 38 million birds from 172 backyard flocks and 183 commercial flocks in 35 states had been affected by the outbreak in the US, according to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the US Department of Agriculture. Infections in wild birds have been detected in additional states.

A series of outbreaks have been reported in Canada as well. In late April, a case of H7N3 bird flu was reported in Mexico, according to a periodic update by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization.

As flocks across the US are affected by the virus, the price of eggs is predicted to rise as much as 21% compared to last year, according to Bloomberg.

Two humans have been infected with the H5N1 virus amid the outbreak: one in the United Kingdom and another in the US. Both suffered only mild symptoms and fully recovered.