It was demonstrated that the Israeli H5N1 strains were closely related to H5N1 viruses concurrently isolated in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.  An H9N2 strain which was previously rarely isolated was identical with viruses obtained from Jordan and Saudi Arabia. This suggests that this strain has become endemic in the Middle East. Co-circulation of both H5N1 and H9N2 Avian Influenza viruses increases the risk of exchange of genetic material with the possible emergence of a strain which may become pathogenic to humans and represent a pandemic potential.

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