Israel has reported the first cases of a highly pathogenic bird flu virus in nearly three years in a village in the northern district of Hazafon, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Monday.
The deadly H5N1 virus caused the death of 15,000 birds at a turkey fattening farm in Avi'el, south of Haifa, the OIE reported on its website, citing data submitted by Israel's ministry of agriculture.
More than 140,000 birds will be culled due to the outbreak, of which 61,000 turkeys at a farm nearby where no clinical signs have been seen, the ministry said.
"The culling of all the flocks is ongoing. Backyard birds in the village will also be culled," it said.
High pathogenic H5N1 bird flu first infected humans in 1997 in Hong Kong. It has since spread from Asia to Europe and Africa and has become entrenched in poultry in some countries, causing millions of poultry infections and several hundred human deaths.