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Culling of chickens continues Photo: Reuters
Culling of chickens continues Photo: Reuters

Official: Human infection possible

Health Ministry director general: I won't be surprised if a human contracts bird flu, but at this point we're not talking about a human epidemic; meanwhile, culling of chickens continues in South

Meital Yasur
Published: 03.21.06, 11:59 / Israel News

Humans may contract bird flu in Israel, but there is no danger of an epidemic at this time, a senior health official said Tuesday morning, as bird flu fears continue to mount.


“I won’t be surprised if one or wo people contract bird flu, God forbid, but at the moment we are not talking about a human pandemic," Ministry of Health Director-General Avi Yisraeli.


The director-general said so far 6,000 portions of Tamiflu, the drug used to treat bird flu, have been handed out.


The bird flu virus is spreading in foul farms in the South but despite the extended arrangements, culling operations are moving sluggishly.


On Tuesday, the Ministry of Defense entered the scene, when it tried to help the Ministry of Agriculture in field operations in a bid

to contain the deadly virus. About 160 Ministry of Defense contractors will assist veterinary personnel in culling infected birds and disposing of them.


In parallel, officials from the Ministry of Agriculture will boost their monitoring of the southern Negev and Lakish areas and will help implement the quarantines imposed on these areas and prevent the smuggling of eggs and foul. In every community, two police cruisers will be deployed for this purpose.


Eyewitnesses told Yne that as of Tuesday morning, the quarantines at southern communities has not been fully imposed, and vehicles are entering and leaving with no hindrance.


In light of the harsh criticism leveled at authorities by farmers, the Knesset Finance Committee held a special discussion on Tuesday morning.


Agriculture Minister Zeev Boim responded to claims of failures in dealing with the illness and admitted: “There was a mistake in dealing with carcasses.” He warned that “from now one we will cull and bury.”

Yossi Yishai, the Director-General of the Agriculture Ministry, updated committee members on the culling operation. He said that by Tuesday culling in infected areas will be completed, and by the end of the week culling will be completed in other areas.


“As of this morning,” he said, “police cruisers have blocked communities within a radius of 10 kilometers (about six miles.) In every community two cruisers have been deployed to ensure that no foul or eggs leave the sites.”


Ilan Marciano contributed to the report


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