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Report: Bird Flu Outbreak Kills Thousands of Migratory Cranes in Israel

By CNSNews.com Staff | December 28, 2021 | 7:29am EST
Cranes seek warmer climates in winter. (Photo by Frédéric Soltan/Corbis via Getty Images)
Cranes seek warmer climates in winter. (Photo by Frédéric Soltan/Corbis via Getty Images)

Here's a reminder that viruses never rest: While we focus on omicron, scientists are keeping close watch on other potentially deadly pathogens.

The Associated Press reported on Monday: "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."

The Daily Beast reported that the wild cranes are infected with the H5N1 avian flu, "which Israeli authorities fear could expand into a global emergency," the report said.

Israel’s National Security Council is handling the outbreak, which is not yet under control.

The big problem right now is retrieving the crane carcasses from Hula Lake to prevent infection of other migratory birds on their way from Europe to warmer climates.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Avian influenza viruses rarely infect people," but -- "The most frequently identified subtypes of avian influenza that have caused human infections are H5, H7 and H9 viruses.

As with the coronavirus, viral mutations that potentially could infect humans are the main concern.

Wild aquatic birds – particularly certain wild ducks, geese, swans, gulls, shorebirds and terns – are the natural hosts for most influenza type-A viruses, CDC says.

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