Swine Flu Strikes Jewish Camps in France and Canada
French Jewish campers are donning face masks after some of their fellow campers were found to be suffering from swine flu symptoms.
Dozens of Bnei Akiva Jewish youth group participants from Belgium and Israel at its campgrounds in Normandy, France are affected. At least two campers from Belgium have tested positive for H1N1 virus, according to Zev Schwartz, executive secretary of the World Bnei Akiva movement.
The ill campers are currently quarantined at the camp. Schwartz related that the Sabbath program will continue as planned. However, the facial masks will impede the eating of the traditional chulent, a beef stew served on Sabbath mornings.
French Ministry of Health officials are currently involved in the case. The situation room of Israel’s Foreign Ministry also remains in constant contact with the camp, concerned with the health of the youth and the Israeli staff.
The religious-Zionist Bnei Akiva youth movement maintains dozens of camps for Jewish youth throughout the world.
The outbreak of the H1N1 flu has also struck Jewish camps in Canada. At least 100 campers and staff at two of Camp Ramah’s Canadian camps have been infected with the disease, the Toronto Star reports.
In addition, at least 40 campers at Canada’s Camp Agudah have developed flu-like symptoms over the last few weeks, its director stated. “We have two to three girls in quarantine who are still ill and another two or three of those who were sent home are still sick,” Rabbi Moishe Blaustein said. “Some of our campers were quite ill.”