Assaf Harofeh swine flu 248.88.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimksi [file])
Swine flu will cause three billion shekels worth of damage to the Israeli economy this winter, D&B (Dun & Bradstreet) said Sunday.
The prediction is based on the Health Ministry's forecast that a quarter of Israel's population would contract the H1N1 virus, leading to millions of sick days.
Meanwhile, a 76-year-old man suffering from the virus was admitted to the intensive care unit at Petah Tikva's Beilinson Hospital on Sunday afternoon. The man is also suffering from a chronic heart disease.
Some 2,000 Israelis have been diagnosed with swine flu, the Health Ministry announced. Five deaths have been reported and 16 people are currently hospitalized in serious condition, including the 76-year-old.
However, the ministry estimated that the actual number of people infected with the H1N1 virus in Israel was much higher, due to carriers who have not yet been tested. Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Avi Yisraeli told Israel Radio that thousands of Israelis have most probably contracted swine flu and mistaken it for regular flu.
Also Sunday, Deputy Health Minister Ya'acov Litzman was set to leave for a US visit, part of which will be spent trying to get options on H1N1 flu vaccines from various companies.