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      Swine Flu Steps Up in Israel, 13 More Cases Diagnosed

      Seven more cases of swine flu were diagnosed in Israel over the weekend and another six on Sunday.
      By Hana Levi Julian
      First Publish: 6/7/2009, 4:15 PM / Last Update: 6/7/2009, 10:05 PM

      The first case of swine flu in the Knesset building was reported on Sunday. The victim is apparently a parliamentary aide who recently returned from the United States.

      The Knesset infirmary is working on guidelines to keep the virus from spreading throughout the premises, in light of the international epidemic.

      The Health Department announced six more confirmed cases of the H1N1 swine-flu virus on Sunday evening. Five of the cases were people who recently returned from the United States, while the sixth was infected in Israel.

      The woman who was infected in Israel was admitted to Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv. The others are a 28-year-old man who is also hospitalized there, a 51-year-old man who was admitted to Sheba Hospital in the Tel Hashomer complex, as were a 40-year-old woman and a 37-year-old man, and a 52-year-old woman who was admitted to Hadassah Ein-Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem.

      The Health Ministry also announced that passengers on British Airways flight 167 from London, which landed on Thursday afternoon, should contact a doctor if they develop fever or other flu symptoms.

      Seven more cases of swine flu were diagnosed in Israel over the weekend, the largest group of people to be diagnosed within a two-day period since the epidemic first began at the end of April.

      Three of the victims had recently returned from the United States, and were believed to have become infected with the virus overseas. The other four people became infected in Israel.

      The Health Ministry has issued an alert, asking passengers of El Al Flight #002 from New York that arrived at 1:00 p.m. Thursday, as well as the passengers of Lufthansa Flight #690 from Frankfurt that arrived in Tel Aviv at 3:20 a.m. Friday, to immediately visit a doctor if they begin to feel ill or develop symptoms of the flu.

      To date, 54 people have been diagnosed with laboratory-confirmed cases of the H1N1 virus in Israel. Of those, 15 were infected within the borders of the Jewish State, and the rest became ill while they were traveling abroad.  Nearly all have recovered, and none suffered the serious form of the virus.

      Swine flu also continues its sweep through the Jewish community in the United States. Last week, one of the largest yeshivot in the country reported an outbreak. Five students at the Ner Israel Rabbinical College in Baltimore, Maryland have been diagnosed with the virus, according to the Baltimore County Department of Health. None of the five is severely affected, however, and none showed respiratory symptoms that have marked the more serious form of the virus.

      A number of yeshivot in the metro New York area have also been struck with the illness; several had temporarily cancelled classes prior to the Shavuot holiday in hopes of containing the outbreak.