(Communicated by the Health Ministry Spokesman)
As of 21 March 2006, avian flu has been found in the turkey coops of four agricultural settlements in the south and center of Israel. In a further two settlements, chickens have been found dead from bird flu. The disease has not been found in a single person in Israel, and the poultry handlers initially suspected of having been infected were examined by the health services and found to be free of the disease.
Immediately following the discovery of the outbreak, the ministries of Health and Agriculture carried their prepared guidelines and began culling affected birds. On instruction from the World Health Organization, all bird life in a 3-kilometer radius of the center of the infection are being destroyed.
The Health and Agriculture ministries are acting in accordance to the instructions issued by all relevant international organizations. All persons regularly handling poultry or who are regularly in their proximity are being tested by the health authorities.
All poultry coops in Israel, and all agricultural produce markets, are managed to the highest professional standards. They are scrupulously clean and strictly supervised by the relevant authorities. The country’s health and agricultural systems are among the best in the world and the supervision of animal and public health, as well as food products, is meticulous.
The government of Israel will continue to observe all relevant international guidelines. There is no reason whatsoever to forgo visiting Israel due to this unfortunate outbreak. Israel is one of the most advanced states worldwide as regards agriculture and health care and there is no risk whatsoever to the health either of its residents or of people who come to visit.
[For further information in Hebrew: http://www.health.gov.il/]