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Workers remove dead cranes infected with avian flu in Israel

Bird Flu Outbreak Kills Hundreds of Thousands of Birds in What Officials Call the Deadliest Wildlife Disaster in Israel’s History

A bird flu outbreak in northern Israel has killed at least 5,200 migratory cranes and forced farmers to slaughter hundreds of thousands of chickens as authorities try to contain what they say is the deadliest wildlife disaster in the nation's history.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met his national security adviser and other experts to discuss efforts to contain the outbreak and prevent this 'mass disaster' from passing into humans.

So far no human transmission has been reported, Bennett's office said.

Many of the birds are dead in the middle of the water body so it's difficult for them to be taken out.' Uri Naveh, a senior scientist at the Israel Parks and Nature Authority, said while also noting the situation is not yet under control.

Wildlife officials in Israel said it is believed that the cranes were infected by smaller birds that had contact with farms suffering from outbreaks.

Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg called the crisis 'the most serious damage to wildlife in the history of the country.' 'The extent of the damage is still unclear,' she tweeted.

Bird flu, or avian influenza, is a virus that primarily infects birds, but can also infect humans. The virus often spreads in the fall and winter months as birds migrate across the world. An infected bird will often carry the flu with them, introducing it to a new part of the world, and infecting animals there.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention warns that a person can contract the virus by being around or touching an infected bird. If virus particles get into a person's eyes, nose or mouth they could be infected. (DM / VFI News)