To date, about 5,000 wild cranes have died in Israel from the disease, which forced local authorities to cull more than 700,000 chickens and tens of thousands of turkeys.
Most bird flu strains do not infect humans. However, four strains have caused deep concern: H5N1 since 1997, H7N9 since 2013, H5N6 since 2014 and H5N8 since 2016. Lahad stated that since little is known about present infections, the possibility of a jump to humans must be taken seriously.
In terms of transmission method, humans are highly unlikely to catch bird flu from eating infected chickens or eggs that come from an infected bird, said Lahad. This is because influenza, like the coronavirus, normally enters the body through the respiratory tract, not the gut.
However, Lahad warned, “it could be transmitted through contact with sick birds – not from touching or eating them, but rather through the same method we know from Covid-19, namely droplets passing into the respiratory system,” he stated.