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(photo credit: AP [file])
The health authorities are not overly worried about the arrival of more than 800 refugees from Sudan, as it has in the past coped well with many more arrivals - Ethiopian Jewish immigrants - plus numerous foreign workers from Africa.
Dr. Tami Shohat of the Tel Aviv District Health Office said the ministry has decided to examine about 200 of the refugees to find out whether they suffer from any infectious diseases such as tuberculosis or HIV or have parasites or other problems.
After doing this within a short time, it will decide what to do with the entire population.
It may be, said Shohat - who was asked to represent the ministry's chief of public health services, Dr. Alex Leventhal (who is abroad) - that those who survived the troubles in Sudan are the healthiest and do not carry the diseases common in Africa.
Another 63 African nationals were caught by IDF troops and border policemen overnight Tuesday as they tried infiltrating into Israel from Egypt.
The Eilat Municipality gathered together Sudanese in the southern city on Wednesday and sent them to medical tests at Josephthal Hospital.
Sudanese children and teenagers up to the age of 17 have been sent to family health (tipat halav) centers for vaccinations. In addition, all children and adults have been vaccinated against meningococcus, Shohat said. Dr. Ilana Belmaker, the Southern District Health Officer, is in charge of health services to the refugees, who have reached Beersheba and a number of kibbutzim in addition to Eilat.
Anyone who is sick will be taken care of in hospital emergency rooms, she added.
Shohat said she had not heard of any of the Africans refusing medical care. "We don't know if they have diseases, and if they do, whether they are similar to those endemic to Ethiopia, but we are not overly worried," she said.
Yaakov Katz contributed to this report.