Concerns about swine flu have Israel on edge

swineSome 2,000 Israelis have already been diagnosed with Novel H1N1, or swine flu, five Israelis have died and 16 more are currently hospitalized in serious condition as a result of the disease.  In response to the growing crisis, this past weekend, Israel signed a $1.8 million contract with a French company to purchase enough H1N1 vaccines to provide for every Israeli by January.

The Health Ministry estimates that the real number of infected persons in Israel is far higher than the 2,000 recorded, since so few individuals have already been tested, and people can tend to confuse swine flu with the common flu. Some estimates indicate that a quarter of Israelis will contract the swine flu this winter.

The Israel Pediatric Society has also sounded the alarm, the Post reports, urging the Israeli government to approve more job slots for pediatric residents out of fear that the number of children to be infected by the H1N1 virus will be so great that the country’s pediatric departments could “collapse” without increased assistance. The Health Ministry estimated last week that 700 young people could die from the H1N1 virus and its complications in 2010.

Dunn & Bradstreet determined that swine flu will cause three million shekels (or about 760,000 dollars) worth of damage to the Israeli economy just this winter, according to the Jerusalem Post.

(Photo: Divergent Learner)