Avian flu at bird coop (file)
Avian flu at bird coop (file)Gershon Elinson/Flash 90

Northern Israel has been struck by a bird flu (H5N1) epidemic in the last two weeks, and on Monday a turkey coop in Kfar Vitkin adjacent to Netanya on the northern coast was made the most recent victim.

In the Kfar Vitkin coop a full 37,000 turkeys will have to be put down and buried in deep trenches lined with plastic sheets according to protocols, so as to prevent the spread of the potentially lethal disease.

The latest outbreak comes as sites where the disease was found last week in the Sharon region (the northern coastal plain) completed undergoing treatment measures, with a total of 157,000 birds being put to death in coops in the north and Sharon to check the virus's advance.

It has been around two weeks since the first outbreaks occurred in the region; two weeks ago on Thursday Yedioth Aharonot reports that the virus was discovered in moshav Aviel in the coastal region north of Hadera.

Veterinary services were called to the scene and the flock was put down and buried with plastic. Likewise, coops in a ten-kilometer radius were quarantined.

The affected coop was disinfected and closed for a period of 30 days, after which it will need the approval of the veterinarian authorities to re-open with new baby turkeys. The coops in a ten-kilometer radius are also to remain in quarantine for 30 days and undergo inspection, and will require permission to open again.

That Saturday after the Aviel coop was discovered to have the flu, another coop in the region, containing broiler chickens, was found to have the disease as well and underwent similar treatment, with the affected flock being put down.

That same day the disease was also found in a coop in kibbutz Magal adjacent to Aviel; it was reportedly run by the same management.

In Israel the largest outbreak of bird flu occurred in 2006, starting among coops in the Gaza belt region before quickly spreading northward. Experts say Israel is more prepared to deal with the disease now, as opposed to in 2006 when it was new for the country.