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Authorities suspect that chickens at Kibbutz Grofit in the Arava have been infected with bird flu.

The entire kibbutz has been placed under veterinary quarantine pending test results.

The Agriculture Ministry's veterinary services stressed Thursday that at this stage authorities only suspect that the chickens were infected.

Some of the kibbutz's chickens were taken to a Beit Dagan veterinary laboratory for tests, the results of which will be available Friday. The tests will determine whether the chickens were infected by the deadly strain of the virus, or another, less harmful type of bird flu.

Roughly six million chickens died or were put to death roughly a year and a half ago due to a bird flu outbreak in numerous communities in southern Israel. The outbreak cost tens of millions of shekels.