H1N1 Claims Another Victim, Health Ministry Predicts More
(Israelnationalnews.com) Just a week after swine flu claimed its first Israeli citizen, a 24-year-old Arab woman became the second fatality in Israel from the disease. Health officials said more than 1,700 people in Israel are currently infected with the H1N1 virus.
Jihan Assad Mussa, a resident of Tarshiha, died Saturday night from the virus. She was described as being chronically overweight and having been hospitalized just days earlier with pneumonia in Nahariya.
Israel's first swine flu victim, 35 year-old Eilat resident Shimon Ezran, was also overweight, and was a habitual smoker.
Another man, a 44-year-old Tel Aviv resident, died Friday night after having already recovered from the flu at Ichilov Hospital. Hospital officials stressed that he did not die from the disease, but rather from a bacterial infection. The man was listed with several risk factors.
Yet another man, 34, remains in critical condition at Ichilov, his pulmonary function severely compromised as a result of his H1N1 infection.
Health Ministry Director General Professor Avi Yisraeli issued an alarming prediction Sunday that 700 Israelis would die of the illness, either as a direct result or from complications that followed. At the Knesset Health Committee meeting, Yisraeli warned that most of the victims could be children.
There are currently more than 1,700 known cases of swine flu in Israel, with authorities estimating that up to a quarter of the population – 1.85 million people – could be infected before the virus is quelled. However, the Health Ministry urged citizens to understand that the overwhelming majority of cases would not cause long-term problems.
Last Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman to purchase H1N1 vaccines for every member of Israel's population – 7.5 million people – at a cost of NIS 450 million.
Israel will also institute a swine flu hotline to answer questions posed by the public. The hotline will operate on Wednesdays and Thursdays between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm. The numbers to call are as follows:
Jerusalem area: 02- 5314847
Tel Aviv area: 03-5684655
Haifa area: 04-8632995
Northern area: 1-800-301-333
Central area: 08-9788669
Ashkelon area: 08-6745317
Southern area: 08-6263544
More than 130,000 people worldwide have contracted swine flu since the global pandemic began, and more than 800 people have died as a result. In the Middle East, less than 10 have died: two in Israel, four in Saudi Arabia, one in Lebanon and one in Qatar.
Israel's first case of swine flu, contracted by Moshav Geulim resident Tomer Vajim, was diagnosed in April shortly after the first outbreak in Mexico. Since then, 22 serious cases of the disease have been recorded in Israel, with 11 patients fighting for their lives in intensive care hospital units.
A recent United States study suggests pregnant women are at increased risk, with the World Health Organization (WHO) instructing health officials worldwide to administer the anti-viral medication Tamiflu to all women who present with respiratory problems within 48 hours of acquiring flu symptoms.
At least SOMEBODY HAS SOME SENSE! Let's hope the majority prevails.
Poll: Israeli Docs Believe H1N1 Vaccine Unnecessary
Av 14, 5769, 04 August 09 10:08
by Hana Levi Julian
(Israelnationalnews.com) A new poll has found that most Israeli doctors believe a new H1N1 vaccine is not necessary – yet.
The survey was conducted by the Medical Media research firm among 145 family physicians. "We are convinced that the opinion of the family physicians is the most significant in determining the allocation of resources for emergency swine flu vaccine," said Yoel Simos, CEO of Medical Media.
The study found that 67 percent of the doctors believe there is no immediate need, if at all, for such a vaccine. Thirty-nine percent of those polled said they believed resources directed toward the H1N1 vaccine should be used for other medical needs.
But 27 percent of family physicians agreed with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who has already ordered enough doses of the vaccine under development to cover every citizen in the state, at a cost of some NIS 450 million. Another 28 percent said the issue is not relevant at present, noting that the vaccine is still under development. They recommended that the decision be put off for at least two months, until further testing can be conducted and the efficacy and risks of the vaccine clarified.
Only 6 percent of the respondents said they felt there was no reason whatsoever to consider purchasing the vaccine.
The World Health Organization said Tuesday evening that 1,154 people worldwide have died from the H1N1 swine flu virus.
'No Visitors, Please'
Various institutions in Israel and abroad are taking various measures in ongoing attempts to try to limit, if not contain the reach of the global pandemic which has taken at least two lives in Israel thus far.
HaEmek Medical Center is hoping the public will take seriously its request to limit – if not altogether desist from visits to patients hospitalized in its facility.
Dr. Orna Bludenheim, director of the Afula-based hospital said Tuesday the move was intended to prevent the spread of the H1N1 swine flu virus. "When healthy people come into contact with our patients, there is a danger of spreading the sickness – as well as spreading illness to another circle of people," Bludenheim explained.
"Although bikur cholim (visiting the sick) is seen by many religions as a good deed, one should consider the fact that for many members of the population, such as babies and children, as well as those who suffer from chronic conditions, it is not a good idea." Under those circumstances, she added, "Visiting a hospitalized relative could cause the unnecessary spread of illness instead."
As with many medical institutions both in Israel and abroad, notices urging the public to wash hands regularly have been posted all around the hospital.
In the Faculty Practice building at New York's Mt. Sinai Medical Center, a stylish-looking stand strategically placed before one reaches the elevators – or even the offices on the ground floor -- dispenses anti-bacterial hand gel to passersby. A sign above the stand cheerily reminds visitors to clean their hands as they enter the building.
On Cathay Pacific Airlines, the female flight attendants were wearing face masks during a recent flight from Australia to Hong Kong, according to Sarah P., a new immigrant who made her aliyah connection to an El Al flight in the southeast Asian city. "It's weird," she told Israel National News with a smile. "The male flight attendants weren't wearing them. I guess they thought it might look funny."
WHO: 2 Billion People to be Infected with H1N1
Reported: 21:36 PM - Aug/04/09
(IsraelNN.com) The World Health Organization repeated its estimate Tuesday that 2 billion people will be infected with the H1N1 flu. Most people suffer only mild symptoms from the disease, but it has also caused 1,154 deaths.
“By the end of the pandemic, anywhere between 15-45 percent of a population will have been infected by the new pandemic virus,” a WHO spokesperson said. “Thirty percent is a midpoint estimate and 30 percent of the world’s population is 2 billion.”
Well, they sure did everything in their power to make it happen. One third of the population, will that satisfy their requirements, or will they need more wars and pestilence???
Again, the media are presenting hypothesis as fact. WHO SAID there IS a third swine flu death? They are INVESTIGATING whether that is what caused her death. BIG DIFFERENCE.
Third Swine Flu Death in Israel
Av 16, 5769, 06 August 09 07:22
by Avraham Zuroff
(Israelnationalnews.com) A 12-year-old Bnei Brak girl with a severe chronic disease who developed swine flu died at Schneider Children’s Hospital in Petach Tikva on Thursday.
It is unknown whether her death was definitely caused by H1N1 influenza, otherwise known as swine flu. The Health Ministry is investigating whether the swine flu caused the girl’s health condition to deteriorate.
The girl was admitted two weeks ago after contracting swine flu. She was treated with an anti-viral medication along with antibiotics and subsequently was sent home. Two days ago, she had a heart attack in her home and was brought to the hospital in critical condition. Although she was put on life-support equipment, her health declined.
The previous death due to swine flu was on Sunday, when Jihan Moussa, the 24-year-old woman from the Jewish-Arab Galilee community of Maalot-Tarshicha, died.
In the Galilee, one kibbutz has closed its entrance to visitors due to an outbreak of the swine flu. At Kibbutz Ma’agan Michael, 50 residents contracted swine flu.
The government discussed on Sunday ways to protect its citizens against the swine flu.
Litzman Explores Swine Flu Vaccine Options
Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman intends to ask the U.S. to give Israel a stock of swine flu vaccines for Israelis in the high-risk category, Voice of Israel government radio reports. Litzman plans to tour U.S. hospitals next week. During his visit, he intends to meet with Bill Corr, his counterpart.
Litzman met Wednesday with officials from Sarel, an Israeli medical equipment supplier. He urged them to supply the populace with a swine flu vaccine, pending government approval. Should Sarel fail to meet demands, Litzman said that he would take his business elsewhere.
The Deputy Health Minister was initially against stocking supplies of the Tamiflu medication for the entire populace. He said that by the time the plans would be implemented, the swine flu outbreak would be diminished. However, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu pushed ahead to give the green light for stocking the country with vaccines and medications for every citizen, despite the high cost involved.
Over 1,700 cases of swine flu have been reported in Israel, one of 168 countries in which an outbreak of swine flu has occurred. The World Health Organization reports that the death toll from the H1N1 influenza pandemic passed the 1,000 mark, with 1,154 deaths since the outbreak was uncovered in April.
Mercaz Harav Librarian Dies of Swine Flu
Reported: 09:30 AM - Aug/07/09
(IsraelNN.com) Adiel Levin, librarian for many yuears at the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem, died from swine flu Thursday night at Shaarei Tzedek Medical Center in Jerusalem at the age of 50. He was admitted a week ago. The hospital reported complications from pneumonia and a background of excess weight. Levin is the fifth person to die from causes related to the H1N1 virus.
His funeral will start from the yeshiva at 11:30 Friday morning and proceed to Har Tamir.
Israel Pushing for Swine Flu Vaccine Despite Controversy
by Maayana Miskin
Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman will seek vaccines from the United States, and President Shimon Peres will be involved in the matter as well, the paper stated. The vaccines will initially be sought only for those considered high-risk, including medical staff, the chronically ill and pregnant women, Health Ministry officials said.
The search for vaccines has been complicated by the fact that at this point, there is no proven vaccine against the flu. Instead, countries seeking vaccines, among them Britain and Germany, have ordered them in advance from pharmaceutical companies that are developing still-untested vaccines.
Vaccines are expected to become available in September. Health officials fear that cases of swine flu will increase in the winter, when seasonal flu is most common, and hope to acquire the vaccines before then.
Netanyahu plans to spend NIS 450 million acquiring enough vaccine for every Israeli, a decision that proved controversial among Israeli doctors. A recent survey found that only 27 percent of family doctors agreed with Netanyahu's decision, while 39 percent believed the money should be used for other medical needs and 28 percent said a decision regarding vaccines should be postponed until a vaccine is developed.
Fifth Swine Flu Death
Health Ministry officials reported Israel's fifth swine flu-related death on Friday morning. The number of swine flu deaths jumped from two to four earlier in the week after the Health Ministry changed its definitions of swine flu fatalities to include two patients who died after apparently recovering from the flu.
The latest victim was a 50-year-old man, who passed away in Jerusalem's Shaarei Tzedek hospital. Like previous victims, the man suffered from chronic health problems.
The victim has been identified as Adiel Levin, a long-time librarian at the Merkaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem. His funeral procession will begin at 11:30 a.m. at the yeshiva.
Magen David Adom Gearing Up for Spread of Swine Flu
Reported: 14:10 PM - Aug/07/09
(IsraelNN.com) Starting on Sunday, all employees and volunteers of the Magen David Adom (MDA-Red Star of David) emergency medical service will undergo a day of refresher training as the service gears up for a spread of the H1N1 swine flu virus. A 12-year-old girl with a chronic illness died this week of complications from the virus, and swine flu was named in last week's death of a 44-year-old man after the Health Ministry changed its parameters.
Sunday's course will cover diagnosis of the disease, the danger of infection and complications from the virus, protective measures and how to spread awareness of these things. MDA is taking preventative steps, including a special methods for cleaning its ambulances to prevent the spread of the disease.
(IsraelNN.com) Sixteen patients are critically ill at Israeli hospitals from H1N1 influenza, commonly known as the swine flu. Five Israelis have already died from the swine flu.
On Sunday night, a 76-year-old man infected with swine flu was hospitalized at the intensive care unit of the Rabin Medical Center in Petach Tikva. The man suffers from chronic heart disease, one of the high-risk groups to contract the swine flu.
Israeli Doctor: 'More Die from Routine Flu Than H1N1 Virus'
by Hana Levi Julian
(IsraelNN.com) Although the swine flu has become a global pandemic, infecting hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, an Israeli doctor says it’s time put it in perspective.
Dr. Yuval Rabinovich, medical director of the Leumit health clinic in Arad, told Israel National News Monday that the swine flu is relatively mild, as influenza viruses go. “More people die each year in Israel from routine influenza than have died from the H1N1 virus,” he said.
In fact, literally hundreds die in Israel each year from “regular” flu, Dr. Rabinovich said, but it is rarely reported. The Ministry of Health statistics on flu-related deaths are only available in tandem with deaths from pneumonia, a complication of the virus.
Dr. Rabinovich estimates that at least 20,000 people have been infected with the H1N1 virus since the first outbreak was detected in April. Although the Health Ministry has reported 2,000 cases of diagnosed H1N1 virus, he said, there really are at least ten times as many people out there who are infected, if not more.
“We’ve stopped testing for it,” he noted, “except in hospital situations. Any flu in Israel is swine flu at present. We don’t change the treatment.”
Dr. Rabinovich, who teaches History of Medicine at Ben Gurion University’s medical school, treats a variety of populations in Leumit’s clinics in southern Israel, including the Bedouin city of Rahat and the town of Kuseifa.
Another area of concern is the rapidity with which it has spread and the risk of mutation. “The flu mutates all the time,” Dr. Rabinovich pointed out. “A new vaccine is produced every year to contend with it.” The main concern with swine flu, he said, is the fact that it affects primarily young people. “Those older than 40 probably ran into it a few decades ago,” he noted. “In this sense, it reminds us of the 1918 Spanish flu.”
Dr. Rabinovich hastened to add that the swine flu was not similar in any other way to the 1918 strain of influenza, which killed approximately 50 million people worldwide. “I believe it ended World War I,” he says. “Certainly more American soldiers died of the flu in the winter of 1918 than were killed in fighting the war.”
At present, only five people have died of swine flu in Israel, and of those, only two were actually healthy, without any pre-existing chronic illnesses to complicate the medical picture.
Sixteen people are currently listed in critical condition and hospitalized in the Intensive Care Units in medical centers around the country.
“Every flu is a serious disease,” Rabinovich said. “But the swine flu is pretty mild.”
According to Dun and Bradstreet, economic damage. totaling billions of shekels to the Jewish State. could be much higher than the nation’s death toll. The financial rating agency estimated Monday that the spread of swine flu by year’s end could lead to a 4-5% drop in GDP, amounting to 28-35 billion shekels ($7-8.75 billion). The direct damage this coming winter alone is estimated to be some 3 million shekels ($750,000). The entertainment, tourist and restaurant industry is expected to be hardest hit.
However, D&B also estimated there will be those who benefit as well – takeout companies, for example, and video rental agencies, as well as pharmaceutical firms that produce vaccines against the virus.