Israel's Health Ministry urged the public to vaccinate against flu Friday, after no fewer than 13 Israelis have been infected with Swine Flu this week.
Esther Aryeh, a woman in her fifties, died of the disease earlier this week; nine others, including several pregnant women, are being treated at various hospitals throughout the country.
Swine flu patients are being treated at Soroka Hospital in Be'er Sheva; Jerusalem's Shaare Tzedek, Hadassah Ein Kerem, and Hadassah Mount Scopus medical centers; Assaf HaRofeh Hospital in Tzrifin; Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv; and the Galilee Hospital.
The Health Ministry has encouraged flu vaccines for several years, and offers the vaccine for free through all four Israeli health insurance companies (HMOs).
Following the news of the swine flu outbreak, thousands flooded local clinics to receive their flu shots, with lines for the vaccine reported at clinics throughout the country.
Many of the HMOs have expanded their nurses' hours to accommodate the rush for next week to handle the hysteria.
Professor Yaniv Almog, director of the intensive care unit at Soroka, called on the public to get vaccinated in an Army Radio interview Friday morning.
"We can almost certainly say that if many more were vaccinated against influenza, there would be a significant decrease [in the disease's] morbidity," Almog said. "No vaccine provides 100% protection, but it reduces the likelihood [of being infected] significantly."