Bird Flu Spotted in Hula Valley

Feeding migrating Common crane in Agamon Hula Nature reserve. (MinoZig)

Bird flu has infected the migrating wild crane population in northern Israel’s Hula Valley, The Times of Israel reported on Thursday.

The Israel Nature and Parks Authority estimates that one in five of some 100,000 wild cranes living or migrating through Israel currently have the H5N1 strain of influenza.

H5N1, which can be transmitted to humans, was first discovered several days ago at Moshav Margaliot on the Lebanese border.

The Agriculture Ministry has sealed off 60 coops there that hold 244,000 laying hens.

The virus has also been detected at a farm on Moshav Neot Hagolan, also in northern Israel, where 17,000 turkeys are being raised in five coops.

Authorities are planning to remove 25 to 30 tons of carcasses.

The Agriculture Ministry is investigating a Moshav Margaliot farmer on suspicion that he tried to smuggle eggs out and sell them.

Officials are advising consumers to buy eggs from reputable sources, check for stamps by inspectors and only eat eggs and poultry that have been thoroughly cooked.

Inspectors are checking the Hula Valley, as well as water bodies in the Jezreel and Zevulun valleys, the Valley of Springs and the Carmel Coast, to determine how far the flu has spread.