Fowl tested for bird flu
Photo: AFP
Photo: Amir Cohen
Prime Minister Office's Director-General Ilan Cohen. Urgent discussion
Photo: Amir Cohen

Bird flu spreading?

Prime Minister Office's director-general summons urgent meeting to discuss 'negative developments of bird flu disease; suspicion: Western Negev communities also infected

The Agriculture Ministry's veterinary services on Monday morning were looking into the possibility that henhouses in Kibbutz Nir Oz and Moshav Amioz in the western Negev have also been infected with the bird flu virus, following a higher then usual mortality rate among poultry.


The two communities are located within a 10-kilometer (6.21-mile) radius from the farms that have already been infected.

Health Minister Jacob Edery eating chicken (Photo: Haim Horenstein) 


Prime Minister Office's Director-General Ilan Cohen is expected to hold an urgent discussion Monday afternoon on ways to stop the disease from spreading and ways to deal with it. Senior officials in the Ministries of Agriculture, Health, Defense and Finance were summoned to the meeting.


The discussions is aimed at halting negative developments of the bird flu disease.


The officials will convene in the afternoon in Cohen's Jerusalem office. The director-general was instructed by Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to organize forces and resources to deal with the disease that has already hit four communities in Israel.


'Joint work will prevent virus from spreading'


During the meeting, the senior officials are expected to discuss the steps taken in order to stop the disease from spreading. Simultaneously, decision are expected to be made on joint activities to halt the virus.


The Defense Ministry is set to help in the burial of the hundreds of thousand of birds being culled. The Finance Ministry is expected to submit a proposal for sources to finance the NIS 15 million (about USD 3.2 million) allotted to compensate farmers following the extermination of about 800,000 birds. 


Ilan Cohen told Ynet that "the Israeli government is taking a series of steps aimed at guaranteeing that the disease will not hurt human beings. In addition, we are working to minimize the damages already caused to farmers."


"I am absolutely certain that through joint work by all the government ministries and local authorities we will succeed in preventing bird flu from spreading across Israel," he said.


Meital Yasur-Beit Or contributed to the report


פרסום ראשון: 03.20.06, 09:16
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