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Israel’s Health Ministry is urging citizens to get the shot – the flu shot, that is – with cases of influenza beginning to climb in the Jewish State.

As of Thursday, Dec. 23, the ministry reported 1,088 people hospitalized with the flu, including 401 children and 70 pregnant women.

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The Health Ministry urged everyone six months and older to get a flu shot, noting the vaccine “can be received together with a COVID-19 shot for those who are eligible.”

Influenza is transmitted from person to person, primarily through exhaled droplets in the air from those who talk, sneeze or cough.

Bird Flu?
Israelis are also being warned about an outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza (bird flu), that was discovered in the southern Golan Heights, at a farm in the community of Ne’ot Golan.

The farm, with about 17,000 turkeys, has been placed in quarantine by the Agriculture Ministry’s veterinary service.

“We are in a war against a virus that may not be visible but is deadly to birds, and can be contagious to humans as well,” Agriculture Minister Oded Forer said, according to The Jerusalem Post.

“Although cases of infection in humans are rare, they are extremely fatal, with about 50 percent mortality in humans who have been infected with the disease.”

Turkeys were also found to be infected with bird flu at another farm in the north as well.

Some 5,000 turkeys were placed in isolation at a coop in Kibbutz Ma’ayan Tzvi this past October.

Earlier the same month, avian flu was identified at a turkey farm with some 42,000 birds.

The above notwithstanding, there have been no confirmed cases of human-to-human transmission of H5N1 in Israel. Bird flu is seen in Israel nearly every year.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.