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

The first case was diagnosed at the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem in a swan, while the second case was discovered in chickens in a coop in Kibbutz Revadim.

Birds fly over the Dome of the Rock, known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City (photo credit: REUTERS)
Birds fly over the Dome of the Rock, known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City
(photo credit: REUTERS)
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, which is done in accordance with Agriculture Ministry procedure whenever a strain of avian influenza is present within a population of birds. 
The ministry said that it is working closely with the zoo to contain the outbreak, since the virus harms wild populations of birds as well as livestock and poultry.
The second case was discovered in 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 further. The chicken coop houses around 19,000 birds.
Dr. Ram Katz, Chief Physician of Poultry Health at the Agriculture Ministry's Veterinary Services division, placed closures on chicken coops within a 10 kilometer radius of the infected one. Ministry officials will routinely monitor the populations of birds amid the quarantine.
Last week, the 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 found in both cases was H5N8. It has yet to be found to infect humans.
The similar strains that have been found across the country led 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 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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