Israel: 2,000 wild cranes dead from bird flu in less than a week

More than 2,000 wild cranes have died in Israel from bird flu in a large nature reserve in the north of the country, officials from the Israel Nature and Parks Authority said on Sunday. « So far 2,000 wild cranes have died and 10,000 are estimated to be infected« , Told AFP Ohad Hatsofe, avian ecologist within the Authority.

«It is currently estimated that a fifth of the crane population in Israel has been affected by bird flu», Added Uri Naveh, deputy director of the scientific department of this organization. There are cases recorded every year in Israel, he said, “but this year it’s more important« , He underlines, and the number of animals dead since Monday is »exceptional».

Since October and like every year, more than 100,000 wild cranes have reached Israel and the majority stop in the Hula Valley in the north of the country to rest before taking off again in the air.

About 40,000 remain in Israel, mostly in this valley before resuming their route to the breeding areas from March. Other outbreaks of H5N1 avian influenza have been detected in farming communities in northern Israel with chicken coops.

The Israeli Ministry of Agriculture said on Sunday to suspend the marketing of eggs from these farms. He further said he was putting measures in place to import eggs in order to deal with a possible shortage.

While the risk of transmitting avian influenza to humans is very low, experts from the Israel Nature and Parks Authority remind experts, the H5N1-type virus strain can be dangerous if contracted from humans. « It is fatal for 36% to 50% of those infected« , Says Ohad Hatsofe.

SEE ALSO – Avian influenza: five farms affected in France


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