Daily Israel Report

Third Swine Flu Death in Israel

A 12-year-old girl with a severe chronic disease who developed swine flu has died, marking the third death related to H1N1 influenza.
By Avraham Zuroff
First Publish: 8/6/2009, 7:22 AM

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, there were reports that Kibbutz Ma’agan Michael has closed its entrance to visitors due to an outbreak of the swine flu. At the kibbutz, 50 residents contracted swine flu. The kibbutz consequently has denied reports that its residents are being quarantined.

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.

Litzman is expected to meet Thursday with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and to update him regarding the costs of the swine flu vaccines. Earlier Thursday, Litzman met with President Shimon Peres and requested his assistance in allowing Israel to “cut the line” for purchasing the vaccines, as soon as they become available.

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.