Three people are in hospital in Israel suffering from suspected bird flu. They worked with infected poultry at two collective farms in southern Israel, where the virus has been discovered.
The kibbutzes have been put under quarantine and fowl within a three-kilometre radius are being culled. Tests are being carried out at another two farms where the H5N1 virus is suspected. The outbreak has prompted the European Commission to ban all imports of live poultry and poultry meat from Israel. Bird flu has spread at an alarming rate in recent weeks across Europe, Africa and parts of Asia, fuelling fears of a pandemic if it mutates into a form that could easily pass from one person to another. So far, the lethal strain of the virus has claimed an estimated 100 lives worldwide.