Health officials plan 20,000-turkey cull after bird flu found

Discovery at Moshav Zavdiel is third case in recent weeks

File: Israeli health officials preparing for a cull in 2010 (Gili Yaari/Flash90)
File: Israeli health officials preparing for a cull in 2010 (Gili Yaari/Flash90)

The Agriculture Ministry plans to slaughter 20,000 turkeys from the same coop after avian flu was discovered there.

The coop, on Moshav Zavdiel, near Lachish in the lower Judean plain, is the third farming community discovered in Israel in recent weeks with an avian flu outbreak.

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Officials hope they can stem the spread of the disease by killing the birds.

A number of cats were found dead before the last cull, with signs pointing to them having eaten the carcasses of infected turkeys near Shalva, in the south, according to a report by the World Organization for Animal Health.

In 2006, southern Israel’s poultry industry was brought nearly to the brink of collapse, growers said, after a number of culls following the discovery of bird flu.

The H5N1 virus, as this strain of avian flu is officially known, can be deadly if transferred to humans. It has lead to the deaths of millions of birds in Europe and Asia as health officials attempt to contain the virus.

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