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'Israel probably passed the peak of bird flu outbreak'

 
Jerusalem, Jan 8 (IANS) The peak of the bird flu outbreak in Israel has probably passed, and there is no indication of harm to humans, said a joint statement issued by the state's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Prime Minister's Office.

An encouraging recovery has been recorded in the last two days, Xinhua news agency quoted the statement -- released on Friday -- as saying.

Workers who collect the bird carcasses and monitor water sources to detect the virus are protected and have received preventive medication, it added.

An investigation into the spread of the virus will soon be conducted, led by Israel's National Emergency Management Authority in the Ministry of Defense, according to the statement.

The outbreak of the pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza began in northern and southern Israel in mid-November and has intensified in the last three weeks.

On Thursday, the agriculture ministry said that more than 1 million chickens, turkeys and ducks had been infected in 20 coop hotspots and had to be killed.

The virus also infected wild birds, killing more than 8,000 cranes in northeastern Israel.

--IANS
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