H5N8 bird flu kills 1,500 birds on Israeli farm: OIE

H5N8 bird flu kills 1,500 birds on Israeli farm: OIE

An outbreak of highly infectious H5N8 bird flu virus on an Israeli farm has already killed more than 1,500 birds, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) warned on Monday.

The deadly outbreak occurred at Hefzi-Bah in the northern district of Hazafon. The farm hit by the outbreak had 35,500 birds before being hit by the virus which spread through contact with wild birds that recently migrated from Europe.

The international animal health body said in a statement, "Israel is on the migration route of wild birds coming from Europe to Africa. The migration is ongoing and this virus strain probably arrived from Europe with migrating birds."

Previously, numerous European countries reported bird flu cases caused by the H5N8 strain, prompting authorities to advise poultry owners to keep their birds indoors to avoid the infection spreading.

German authorities announced on Monday that nearly 30,000 poultry birds were destroyed in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein after the H5N8 bird flu strain was detected in their enclosure.

Farmers as well as consumers are concerned about the impact of the outbreak as it can hurt supplies and prices for goose, duck and chicken during the Christmas season. The H5N8 strain of the virus can easily spread among birds but it isn't known to infect humans.

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