Assaf Harofeh swine flu 248.88.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimksi [file])
The number of Israeli fatalities attributed to the H1N1 flu virus rose to eight on Thursday.
The sudden death of a 40-year-old man who was treated at the Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus in Petah Tikva shocked his family and medical staffers, as he apparently had not suffered from a chronic disease. He developed a fever earlier this week and was found to have developed acute renal deficiency, even though there was no kidney disease shown in his medical records.
At Beilinson, tests showed he had been infected with H1N1 virus, but with treatment, he recovered and was discharged. Yet suddenly on Thursday, he went into cardiac arrest and died.
Although it can't be proven that his death was the result of the flu, according to the new Health Ministry policy that any death soon after contracting the virus may have been connected to the infection, he was recorded as the sixth casualty. His case was similar to that of a 12-year-old girl from east Jerusalem with a genetic disease who contracted H1N1 flu, was hospitalized and recovered and then died of cardiac arrest.
The next fatality was a 54-year-old woman who had colon cancer and was recently diagnosed with and treated for the flu at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center (Ichilov Hospital). Although there was not a certain connection between H1N1 and death, she was recorded as the seventh Israeli victim of the flu since the late spring.
Similarly, a 60-year-old woman who died at Haifa's Rambam Medical Center on Wednesday was named the eighth Israeli fatality when tests showed on Thursday that she had the H1N1 flu virus. The woman suffered from chronic illness and general infection.
About half of the more than 2,200 Israelis who have been diagnosed with the virus are under the age of 30, and only 5 percent are over 50, according to the latest Health Ministry statistics. It has hit slightly more men than women, which is true about most infectious diseases, according to the ministry.
By the end of June, two-thirds of those infected got the virus in Israel and the rest contracted it abroad. From the third week in July until now, almost 92% were infected in Israel.
Most of the sick developed fever and cough; other typical symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat, headaches, muscle aches, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and breathing difficulties were less common.
Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar issued a statement on Thursday calling on the public to fast and pray on the eve of the Hebrew month of Elul (Wednesday, August 19) "to repent for [the population's sins] and bring an end to the epidemic."