Serious cases of influenza spark fear of outbreak

54-year-old woman unprotected by vaccination dies of swine flu at Rabin Medical Center.

Vaccination against the flu (photo credit: CLALIT HEALTH SERVICES)
Vaccination against the flu
The Health Ministry called on everyone over the age of six – especially pregnant women and people of all ages with chronic diseases such as heart problems, diabetes or Down syndrome – to get a flu shot, following the death of a 54-year-old woman from H1N1 (swine) flu at the Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus in Petah Tikva on Thursday.
The woman, who was first hospitalized a month ago at Soroka-University Medical Center in Beersheba, was transferred to Beilinson to undergo special treatment with a device designed to keep the heart and lungs working until they can recover. She had a chronic illness, but had not gone this year to her health fund clinic to receive the vaccine, which contains protection against the strain.
The ministry stressed that “it’s not too late to be vaccinated.
Go now,” the representative said. Unfortunately, the percentage of people who have been vaccinated so far is lower than last year, apparently due to the relatively dry and pleasant weather during the day. The current wave of terrorism also may be keeping people in their homes.
The ministry said there have been 11 patients so far this season to be diagnosed with serious cases of swine flu. Three were hospitalized at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, three at Soroka, two at Tel Hashomer’s Sheba Medical Center, one each at Hadassah-University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem and Mount Scopus, and one at Tel Aviv’s Sourasky Medical Center.
Children of all ages are also at higher risk of suffering complications from the flu. Free vaccinations are available from one’s health fund clinic. Every winter, several hundred people mostly elderly or people with chronic illnesses – die of flu complications, but the public tends to be apathetic. About half of hospital doctors do not get the shot at work, even though it is free and the virus in it is killed and cannot cause the flu.
The three others being treated at Soroka are all pregnant women. The condition of two of the women has improved since their admission; they are being kept in isolation at the hospital. The third woman is in the intensive care unit of the hospital, in serious condition. Due to the severity of her state, the hospital delivered her baby by cesarean section on Wednesday. The infant was in satisfactory condition and was transferred to Soroka’s premature baby unit. A fourth woman, 57 years old, was diagnosed at Soroka with swine flu and is in serious condition. She is on a respirator at the hospital.
None of the four women had received the vaccination against the flu.