Avian flu kills thousands of cranes in Israel, including poultry

JERUSALEM, Dec. 27 (Reuters) – An avian flu outbreak has killed more than 5,000 migratory cranes in Israel, prompting authorities to close a popular wildlife sanctuary to visitors and warn of possible egg shortages as poultry birds use caution.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with his national security advisor and other experts to discuss efforts to contain the outbreak and prevent its transmission to humans. So far, no human transmission has been reported, Bennett’s office said.

Israeli media said children who visited the reservation may have touched a sick crane and contributed to the spread of the flu.

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“This is the worst blow to the animal world in the history of the country,” tweeted Environment Minister Tamar Zandberg, when rangers in dangerous goods suits collected cranes from the lake of the Hula nature reserve and the surrounding swamps.

Hundreds of thousands of chickens have been killed, she said.

The authorities tried to relax the import quotas and bring in eggs from abroad to avoid a lack of eggs due to the culling.

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Letter from Dan Williams; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Aliosn Williams

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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