Israeli residents are not in danger of a bird flu outbreak, Dr. Boaz Lev, Assistant Director-General of the Ministry of Health, and expert on contagious diseases, has told Ynet.
The Health Ministry said that every precautious step has been taken, and that Israel is equipped with the necessary medicines.
The scare started in recent days, after hundreds of dead turkeys were discovered in southern Kibbutzim. Initial test samples found that they were carrying the dangerous H type bird flu virus, indicating the presence of the H5N1 strain.
In farms in the south of the country, chickens have begun to be put down, a process which will take 48 hours due to the need to dig holes big enough for the number of birds that will be destroyed.
The chickens are put down through poison placed in water.
Kibbutz Kissufim is expected to destroy around 200,000 chickens, and Kibbutz Nirim will kill 40,000 chicken. Around 36,000 birds will be put down in Ein Hashlosha.
Four people are in hospital after possibly contracting bird flu.
Doctor Boaz Lev, what are we allowed to eat?
"There are no problems with eating cooked eggs, a fried egg, an omelet, scrambled egg, or a hard boiled egg. All cooking process of the egg are good for consumption, including the use of eggs for baking. Beyond that we should remember that the marketing authorities sell approved food. The minute a point of disease is located, the Ministry of Agriculture closes that area's point of access of products to the market."
Can we eat chickens?
"There are no known cases in the world of someone becoming infected with bird flu because he ate an egg or chicken. There is no problem with meat products and eggs sold through the marketing authorities. To be meticulous, for those truly anxious, they can make due with heating, because the virus is destroyed in the heat in a number of minutes."
What about the white of an egg?
"As I said, there are no known cases in the world of someone becoming infected through eating contaminated food. If someone is really frightened, they should heat the food."
Is the State of Israel ready for an outbreak?
"We are certainly ready. We have a respectable stockpile of medicines. Vaccination for the disease still does not exist, but we equipped ourselves with Tami flu. In May, we will cover 16 percent of the complete population, and our final aim is to be able to treat an outbreak in which 25 percent of the population becomes infected. But of course, we are talking about a disease which is not here."