Avian Flu Scare Over, Arab Jerusalemite Tests Negative

A Jerusalem Arab who raises chickens was tested for the deadly avian flu strain, but was found to merely have a regular flu Tuesday, allaying national fears that the infection had come to Israel.

Ezra HaLevi , | updated: 8:41 AM

The man was brought to Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital after he developed flu symptoms, and many of his chickens began dying. Though preliminary tests gave negative results, the Agriculture Ministry is still testing the chickens from the man's home, in the capital's Sur Bahir neighborhood.

A cure for avian flu has not yet been developed. As of now, the flu can only be transferred from birds to humans, and not from one person to another – though such a mutation is feared by world health organizations.

Seventy-nine people worldwide have died of the flu, the strain of which is called H5N1, in the past year. On Monday, Turkey reported its fourth human death from the avian flu. The deaths in Turkey, a favorite destination of Israeli Arabs, as well as Jewish tourists, were the first human victims reported outside eastern Asia since the flu became a threat.