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ND Ravaging Chicken Coops; 1.5 Million Birds Killed

by 5m Editor
5 April 2011, at 10:37am

ISRAEL - Newcastle disease has broken out in Israeli chicken coops - and is spreading.

The contagious avian disease has already hit 70 farming communities around the country and a million and a half birds have already been destroyed. The damage to farmers is estimated at NIS 30 million so far.

The disease is carried by a virus and depending on the strain, can cause up to 90 per cent mortality among birds. Humans exposed to infected birds, for example in poultry processing plants, can suffer mild conjunctivitis and influenza-like symptoms, but there is no real threat to human health.

The Agriculture Ministry's Veterinary Services destroys all flocks on an infected farm, as well as placing the farm in veterinary quarantine, The Marker.

Newcastle disease breaks out in Israel every few years. It has a number of different viral strains, which differ greatly in severity. A relatively effective vaccine exists, but not all poultry farmers trouble to vaccinate their flocks. It was first found in Newcastle in the United Kingdom in 1926.

As opposed to avian flu, it does not attack humans or other mammals. Nonetheless, sales of meat and eggs from infected birds, and any infected farm, is banned.

The last major outbreak of Newcastle disease in Israel was in 2007.

The epidemic was first discovered in Israel this time in January and spread quickly. Jordan banned imports of eggs and poultry from Israel and the West Bank last month, Jordan reported to the OIE - World Organization for Animal Health at the time.

Despite the epidemic, there will be no shortage of poultry products and eggs for the Passover holiday, said Yaakov Cohen, the head of the Israel Egg and Poultry Board.

Farmers who did not vaccinate their birds will not receive any compensation from the government-owned agricultural insurance company that insures the coops and flocks. The insurance policy also does not cover indirect damages, such as those stemming from the quarantine for all farms within a three-kilometer radius of an infected farm. No poultry products, birds or eggs may enter or leave any quarantined farm for 30 days.

Further Reading

- Find out more information on Newcastle disease by clicking here.