An epidemiologist warns that bird flu that kills Israel’s birds can be transmitted to humans

Epidemiologist and Professor Amnon Lahad, head of Israel’s National Health Council, said the risk of a bird flu epidemic in Israel spreading to humans is real and “extremely worrying.”

On Wednesday, the Health Ministry called on Israelis to take necessary precautions to counter the outbreak of bird flu, urging the public to avoid contact with sick or infected birds and not to hunt these animals.

In addition, it is recommended to buy chicken and eggs only in regulated places, providing them with inspection stamps. According to the ministry, “care must be taken to cook eggs and chicken properly, adhere to hygiene and wash hands after any contact with meat or eggs.”

Most strains of bird flu do not infect humans. However, there are four strains of concern: H5N1 since 1997, H7N9 since 2013, H5N6 since 2014 and H5N8 since 2016.

According to Mr. Lahad, knowing so little about the current infections means that the possibility of human jumping must be “taken seriously”.

He explained, “The spread of bird flu is of great concern, especially as it affects chickens and not only wild birds. It has moved from wild animals to productive animals, and I hope it will not be transmitted to humans.”

Experts say Israel is on a major migration route and birds can spread influenza far beyond the country.

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