Swine flu is making an unfortunate comeback in Israel. Officials at Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tikvah said Thursday that a woman in her 50s who had been hospitalized after contracting swine flu passed away Wednesday night. She was one of at least eight women who are currently being treated for the disease, with some in serious condition.
Hospital officials said that the woman had been suffering from other maladies as well.
Health officials appealed to Israelis to get vaccinated for the disease. Swine flu vaccines are plentiful, officials said, and are easily obtainable at all the health funds.
Swine flu, also known as Spanish flu or H1N1 flu, made headlines in Israel and worldwide in 2009, when health authorities prepared for mass outbreaks that did not materialize. However there were a significant number of cases then, and the disease resurfaces each winter. Women, especially those who are expecting, are among the most at risk of contracting the disease, medical officials said.
Currently, three expectant women suffering from the disease are hospitalized at Soroka Hospital in Be’er Sheva. Also hospitalized there is a 57-year-old woman who contracted the disease; two women are being treated for it at Yerushalayim hospitals. None of the victims had been vaccinated, the hospitals said.
The Health Ministry said that the best defense against swine flu is taking a shot against it. Despite the unusually large number of cases, the Ministry added, it does not believe that an epidemic is in the offing.