February 26, 2024

The Agriculture Ministry said Wednesday that turkeys at a coop in Tsor’a in central Israel were found to be infected with bird flu. The coop has 10,500 birds in four buildings, and all coops within 10 km of the farm were placed under lockdown. Israelis raising pet birds and backyard poultry were advised to keep the birds inside buildings to prevent further spread.

This is the second reported outbreak in the past month and the fifth reported in Israel this season. The Agriculture Ministry did not specify which strain of bird flu the turkeys were infected with. Another case of H5N1 avian influenza was found in a marbled teal in the central Israeli city of Yehud earlier this month.

The first outbreak of the season was reported in September at a petting zoo in Sde Ya’akov in northern Israel. Between that outbreak and the latest one, two additional outbreaks were reported.

The global outbreak of avian influenza has been ongoing since 2021, affecting Europe, the Americas, and other locations worldwide. The Wageningen Bioveterinary Research Institute at Wageningen University reported a new variant of the H5N1 subtype of highly pathogenic avian influenza in the Netherlands two weeks ago. This new variant includes a new version of the PB1 gene segment, likely resulting from the virus mixing with a low pathogenic version of avian influenza. The variant has been spotted in several dead wild ducks and geese found in the Netherlands since November, but it is unclear if the reassortment of the PB1 segment has changed any properties of the virus.