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עמוד בית
Wed, 10.08.22

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June 2022
Shai Ashkenazi MD

The development of antibiotic agents has revolutionized the treatment of infectious diseases and clinical practice. However, antibiotic overuse, together with biologic evolution, has resulted in escalating antibiotic resistance of bacteria; with the One Health concept, it affects our planet including animals, aquatic wildlife, rivers, groundwater, lakes, sea water, aqua farming, and soil. This situation threatens our ability to treat infections effectively in the near future and raises the alarming question of whether we are getting close to the post-antibiotic era. Several measures are suggested to prevent the apocalyptic consequence of antibiotic overuse, few of which are novel with thinking outside the box.

August 2020
Yoram Sandhaus MD, Talma Kushnir PhD and Shai Ashkenazi MD

Background: Social distancing, implemented to decrease the spread of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19), forced major changes in medical practices, including an abrupt transition from face-to-face to remote patient care. Pre-clinical medical studies were concomitantly switched to electronic distance learning.

Objectives: To explore potential implications of COVID-19 on future pre-clinical medical studies.

Methods: We examined responses of pre-clinical medical students to the remote electronic learning in terms of quality of and satisfaction with teaching and technical support, attendance to classes, and the desire to continue electronic learning in the post-epidemic era. A survey of responses from first-year students at the Adelson School of Medicine was conducted. To optimize the reliability of the survey, a single research assistant conducted telephone interviews with each student, using a structured questionnaire concerning aspects of participation and satisfaction with teaching and with technical components of the remote electronic learning.

Results: With 100% response rate, the students reported high satisfaction with the electronic learning regarding its quality, online interactions, instructions given, technical assistance, and availability of recording for future studies. Most of the students (68.6%) noted a preference to continue < 90% of the learning online in the post-outbreak era. A high level of overall satisfaction and a low rate of technical problems during electronic learning were significantly correlated with the desire to continue online learning (P < 0.01).

Conclusions: The high satisfaction and the positive experience with the electronic distance learning imposed by the COVID-19 epidemic implied a successful transition and might induce future changes in pre-clinical medical studies.

May 2020
Michal Natan PhD, Gila Jacobi, Ehud Banin PhD and Shai Ashkenazi MD MSc

Background: Although indwelling catheters are increasingly used in modern medicine, they can be a source of microbial contamination and hard-to-treat biofilms, which jeopardize patient lives. At times 70% ethanol is used as a catheter-lock solution due to its bactericidal properties. However, high concentrations of ethanol can result in adverse effects and in malfunction of the catheters.

Objective: To determine whether low concentrations of ethanol can prevent and treat biofilms of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Methods: Ethanol was tested at a concentration range of 0.625–80% against laboratory and clinical isolates of P. aeruginosa for various time periods (2–48 hours). The following parameters were evaluated following ethanol exposure: prevention of biofilm formation, reduction of biofilm metabolic activity, and inhibition of biofilm regrowth.

Results: Exposing P. aeruginosa to twofold ethanol gradients demonstrated a significant biofilm inhibition at concentrations as low as 2.5%. Treating pre-formed biofilms of P. aeruginosa with 20% ethanol for 4 hours caused a sharp decay in the metabolic activity of both the laboratory and clinical P. aeruginosa isolates. In addition, treating mature biofilms with 20% ethanol prevented the regrowth of bacteria encased within it.

Conclusions: Low ethanol concentrations (2.5%) can prevent in vitro biofilm formation of P. aeruginosa. Treatment of previously formed biofilms can be achieved using 20% ethanol, thereby keeping the catheters intact and avoiding complications that can result from high ethanol concentrations.

February 2019
Lital Oz-Alcalay MD, Shai Ashkenazi MD MSc, Aharona Glatman-Freedman MD MPH, Sarit Weisman-Demri MD, Alexander Lowenthal MD and Gilat Livni MD MHA

Background: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)-related bronchiolitis is a common cause of morbidity in young infants. The recommendations for its passive prevention by palivizumab are currently under intensive debate.

Objectives: To elucidate the optimal prevention strategy by studying the morbidity of RSV disease under the current recommendations for palivizumab prophylaxis in Israel.

Methods: We collected demographic and clinical data of all children hospitalized with microbiologically confirmed RSV bronchiolitis during 2015–2016 at Schneider Children's Medical Center. The seasonality of RSV disease was also studied for the period 2010–2017 in sentinel clinics scattered throughout Israel.

Results: Of the 426 hospitalized children, 106 (25%) had underlying diseases but were not eligible for palivizumab prophylaxis according to the current criteria in Israel. Their course was severe, with a mean hospital stay of 6.7 days and a 12% admission rate to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). Palivizumab-eligible children who did not receive the prophylaxis before hospitalization had the most severe course, with 22% admitted to the PICU. More children were diagnosed with RSV disease in October than in March among both hospitalized and ambulatory children; 44% of the palivizumab-eligible hospitalized children were admitted in the last 2 weeks of October, before 1 November which is the recommended date for starting palivizumab administration in Israel.

Conclusions: According to the results of the present study we suggest advancing RSV prophylaxis in Israel from 1 November to mid-October. The precise palivizumab-eligible categories should be reconsidered.

November 2014
Alon Nevet MD PhD, Havatzelet Yarden-Bilavsky MD, Shai Ashkenazi MD MSc and Gilat Livni MD

Background: C-reactive protein (CRP) is often used to distinguish bacterial from viral infections. However, the CRP level does have implications, which depend on the clinical scenario and are still under research.

Objectives: To evaluate the distribution of CRP levels in children with primary herpetic gingivostomatitis.

Methods: The electronic database of a tertiary pediatric medical center was searched for all inpatients with a diagnosis of primary herpetic gingivostomatitis without bacterial co-infection. Background and clinical information was collected and CRP levels were analyzed.

Results: The study group consisted of 66 patients aged 8 months to 7.1 years who met the study criteria. The average CRP was 7.4 mg/dl (normal < 0.5 mg/dl). More than a third of the patients had a level higher than 7 mg/dl.

Conclusions: High values of CRP are prevalent in patients with primary herpetic gingivostomatitis, similar to adenoviral infections and some bacterial infections. 

January 2010
E. Bilavsky, H. Yarden-Bilavsky D.S. Shouval, N. Fisch, B-Z. Garty, S. Ashkenazi and J. Amir

Background: Secondary thrombocytosis is associated with a variety of clinical conditions, one of which is lower respiratory tract infection. However, reports on thrombocytosis induced by viral infections are scarce.

Objectives: To assess the rate of thrombocytosis (platelet count > 500 x 109/L) in hospitalized infants with bronchiolitis and to investigate its potential role as an early marker of respiratory syncytial virus infection.

Methods: Clinical data on 469 infants aged ≤ 4 months who were hospitalized for bronchiolitis were collected prospectively and compared between RSV[1]-positive and RSV-negative infants.

Results: The rate of thrombocytosis was significantly higher in RSV-positive than RSV-negative infants (41.3% vs. 29.2%, P = 0.031). The odds ratio of an infant with bronchiolitis and thrombocytosis to have a positive RSV infection compared to an infant with bronchiolitis and a normal platelet count was 1.7 (P = 0.023, 95% confidence interval 1.07–2.72). There was no significant difference in mean platelet count between the two groups.

Conclusions: RSV-positive bronchiolitis in hospitalized young infants is associated with thrombocytosis.

[1] RSV = respiratory syncytial virus

November 2009
N. Fisch, S. Ashkenazi and M. Davidovits

Background: Although febrile urinary tract infections are very common in young children, the need for antimicrobial prophylaxis and evaluation following a first event is controversial.

Objectives: To assess the approach of leading pediatric specialists throughout Israel.

Methods: A questionnaire regarding the approach to antibiotic prophylaxis and diagnostic evaluation following a first event of febrile UTI[1], according to age and underlying renal abnormality, was sent to all 58 directors of departments of pediatrics, units of pediatric infectious diseases and pediatric nephrology in Israel.

Results: Fifty-six directors (96%) responded. Most prescribed prophylactic antibiotics after UTI. Heads of infectious disease departments prescribed less prophylaxis following UTI at the age of 18 months than heads of pediatrics or heads of pediatric nephrology units (34% vs. 72–75%, P = 0.018), but more often in cases of severe vesico-ureteral reflux without UTI. Cephalosporins were used prophylactically more often by directors of pediatrics compared to heads of pediatric nephrology units (71% vs. 38%, P = 0.048); the latter used non-beta-lactam prophylaxis (61% vs. 23%, P = 0.013) more often. Most pediatricians used renal sonography for evaluation; renal scan was used more commonly by pediatric nephrologists.

Conclusions: The administration of prophylactic antibiotics after UTI is still common practice among pediatric opinion leaders, although the specific approach differs by subspecialty. According to up-to-date evidence-based data, educational efforts are needed to formulate and implement judicious guidelines.


[1] UTI = urinary tract infection

May 2005
J. Bishara, G. Livne, S. Ashkenazi, I. Levy, S. Pitlik, O. Ofir, B. Lev and Z. Samra

Background: The prevalence of extended-spectrum β-lactamase-producing organisms and their antimicrobial resistance patterns may vary between geographic areas.

Objectives: To evaluate the prevalence and susceptibility of ESBL[1]-producing organisms among Klebsiella pneumoniae and Escherichia coli isolated from adult and pediatric patients in two Israeli hospitals.

Methods: ESBL production was tested according to recommendations of the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute, using ceftazidime (30 μg) and a combination of ceftazidime/clavulanate (30/10 μg) disks with a ≥5 mm difference indicating positivity. Antibiotic susceptibilities were determined by the disk diffusion method according to CLSI[2] standards. Minimum inhibitory concentrations were determined by the E-test.

Results: The prevalence of ESBL-producing organisms was significantly higher among K. pneumoniae than E. coli isolates – 32% (241/765) vs. 10% (57/547) respectively (P < 0.001), and more frequently isolated from adults than children (odds ratio 2.27 for K. pneumoniae and 12.94 for E. coli). Resistance rates for amoxicillin/clavulanate, piperacillin-tazobactam, amikacin, and ciprofloxacin among the ESBL-producing K. pneumoniae and E. coli isolates were 95%, 82%, 49% and 77% for K. pneumoniae, and 77%, 35%, 25% and 100% for E. coli. Two (0.8%) ESBL-producing and 4 (0.7%) ESBL-negative K. pneumoniae isolates showed intermediate susceptibility (MIC[3] 6 μg/ml) to meropenem. All isolates were sensitive to ertapenem and colistin.  

Conclusion: ESBL production among K. pneumoniae and E. coli is more prevalent in the adult population than the pediatric population and is associated with multidrug resistance.

[1] ESBL = extended spectrum β-lactamase

[2] CLSI = Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (formerly the NCCLS)

[3] MIC = minimum inhibitory concentration


July 2003
February 2000
Yehuda Nofech-Mozes MD, Yael Yuhas PhD, Elisabeth Kaminsky MSc, Abraham Weizman MD and Shai Ashkenazi MD MSc

Background: The pathogenesis of neurological symptoms, the most common extraintestinal complication ofchildhood shigellosis, is unclear. To elucidate the mechanisms involved, we developed an animal model and demonstrated that TNF alpha and IL-1 beta play a role.

Objectives: To determine whether TNF alpha and IL-1 beta genes are expressed in the brain following peripheral administration of Shigella dysenteriae 60R.

Methods: Expression of mRNA for TNF alpha and IL-1 beta was examined in the brain structures (hypothalamus and hippocampus) and peripheral organs by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, at different time points after intraperitoneal injection of S. dysenteriae sonicate.

Results: In our animal model of Shigella related seizures, TNF alpha and IL-1 beta mRNA were induced in the brain, spleen and liver already 1 hour after injection of S. dysenteriae sonicate. The expression of TNF alpha and IL-1 beta mRNA in spleen, hippocampus and hypothalamus decreased after 6 h and increased again at 18 h post-injection.

Conclusions: Local production of TNF alpha and IL-1 beta in the brain may be involved in the enhanced seizure response of mice after administration of S. dysenteriae. It is possible that intracerebral production of TNF alpha and IL-1 beta plays a role in neurological disturbances of human shigellosis.

Itamar Offer, MD, Shai Ashkenazi, MD, Gilat Livni, MD and Itamar Shalit, MD

Background: Bronchiolitis caused by respiratory syncytial virus is one of the major causes of hospitalization in young children, especially during the winter.  Recent evidence has shown that pharmacological treatment, especially nebulized epinephrine, in addition to the traditional supportive treatment, can alleviate symptoms and shorten hospitalization, but this approach is not yet widespread.

Objectives: To determine whether the management of bronchiolitis in Israel is moving toward a stronger emphasis on pharmacological care.

Methods: A questionnaire on the diagnosis and management of bronchiolitis was completed by 27 heads of pediatric departments throughout Israel.  The questionnaire dealt with the frequency of usage of diagnostic and selected therapeutic procedures.

Results: Chest X-ray and arterial blood gases are commonly used as a diagnostic aid in more than 75% of the departments, and antibiotics are prescribed routinely in 24%.  Corticosteroids are still in use: 48% use systemic steroids, and 19% nebulized steroids.  Nebulized epinephrine is used in 22% of the departments, while nebulized beta-agonists are used frequently in two-thirds of the departments.

Conclusions: Despite convincing data that beta-agonists and steroids have no positive effect on the outcome of bronchiolitis on the one hand, and that nebulized epinephrine has advantages in children on the other, we found significant use of the former two agents and sparse use of the latter.  Greater awareness is needed among pediatricians, and measures should be introduced to incorporate the new recommendations, with further study of the effect of the old and new drugs on bronchiolitis.


Yael Levy MD, Shai Ashkenazi MD, Sivan Lieberman MD and Yehuda L. Danon MD

Background: According to studies from different countries, the prevalence of natural rubber latex sensitization in healthcare workers ranges from 2.9 to 17%.

Objective: To estimate the prevalence of NRL-specific IgE antibodies in healthcare workers in Israel.

Methods: Three hundred healthcare workers, mostly from a major pediatric tertiary care facility, and 15 non-healthcare workers completed a questionnaire on signs and symptoms of NRL allergy and other respiratory and food allergies. NRL-specific IgE antibodies were assayed with the DPC AlaSTAT-ELISA method.

Results: Seventy of the 300 workers (23.3%) reported symptoms of NRL allergy: hand eczema and pruritus in 63, upper respiratory tract and ocular symptoms in 10, shortness of breath in 2, and generalized rash in 6. None had anaphylaxis due to latex exposure. There was a significant correlation of symptoms of NRL allergy with atopy and job category (nurses, laboratory technicians, nurse assistants and dental medicine workers), but not with gender, age, or years of employment. The in vitro tests for specific IgE antibodies against NRL were positive (≥0.70 IU/ml) in five workers (1.66%).

Conclusions: This is the first study of the prevalence of NRL-specific IgE antibodies in healthcare workers in Israel. Our 1.66% sensitization rate is much lower than that reported for healthcare workers in other countries. This difference may be due to our inclusion of a study population with a relatively low exposure to latex gloves (pediatricians compared to surgeons). Further studies are needed in this and other high risk populations in Israel.  



NRL = natural rubber latex

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