22 March 2006
Tests on dead chickens indicate that the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu or avian influenza has spread to the Gaza Strip. Israeli and Palestinian officials are meeting Wednesday to discuss how to contain the spread of the deadly flu.
Bird flu continues its spread through the Middle East.
Israeli officials say initial tests on about 200 dead chickens found in the southern Gaza Strip showed the presence of the H5 protein in the dead animals - an indication of the presence of the H5N1 strain of bird flu.
Acting Palestinian Health Minister Gassan Khatib says that initial tests indicate presence of the bird flu strain. He says Palestinian and Israeli health officials are working closely to try and contain its spread.
Khatib says international health authorities have also been contacted to help Palestinians control the spread of bird flu, also known as avian influenza.
Palestinian authorities say areas where the suspected bird flu has been found will be put under quarantine. Israeli officials are conducting tests on the dead animals because the Palestinian Authority does not have the technology or the facilities to do so.
Israel has culled nearly half-a-million infected turkeys and chickens since the bird flu virus was discovered in southern Israel last week.
Egyptian officials said on Tuesday there could be at least three human cases of bird flu in Egypt and that one person is believed to have died of the disease.
About 100 people, mostly in Asia, have died after being infected with bird flu.