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עמוד בית
Fri, 31.03.23

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November 2010
O. Vinitsky, L. Ore, H. Habiballa and M. Cohen Dar

Background: The incidence of cutaneous leishmaniasis in northern Israel began to rise in 2000, peaking at 41.0 per 100,000 in the Kinneret subdistrict during the first half of 2003.

Objectives: To examine the morbidity rates of CL[1] in northern Israel during the period 1999–2003, which would indicate whether new endemic areas were emerging in this district, and to identify suspicious hosts.

Methods: The demographic and epidemiologic data for the reported cases (n=93) were analyzed using the GIS and SPSS software, including mapping habitats of suspicious hosts and localizing sites of infected sand flies.

Results: The maximal incidence rate in the district was found in the city Tiberias in 2003: 62.5/100,000 compared to 0–1.5/100,000 in other towns. The cases in Tiberias were centered on the peripheral line of two neighborhoods, close to the habitats of the rock hyraxes. Sand flies infected with Leishmania tropica were captured around the residence of those affected. Results of polymerase chain reaction were positive for Leishmania tropica in 14 of 15 tested patients.

Conclusions: A new endemic CL area has emerged in Tiberias. The most suspicious reservoir of the disease is the rock hyrax.

[1] CL = cutaneous leishmaniasis

S.D Israeli-Korn, Y. Schwammenthal, T. Yonash-Kimchi, M. Bakon, R. Tsabari, D. Orion, B. Bruk, N. Molshatzki, O. Merzeliak, J. Chapman and D. Tanne

Background: Multiple case series, mostly highly selected, have demonstrated a very high mortality following acute basilar artery occlusion. The more widespread availability and use of non-invasive vascular imaging over recent years has increased the rate of ABAO[1] diagnosis.

Objectives: To estimate the proportion of diagnosed ABAO among all-cause ischemic stroke in an era of increasing use of non-invasive vascular imaging and to compare the characteristics and outcomes between these two groups.

Methods: We compared 27 consecutive cases of ABAO identified in a university hospital between 2003 and 2007 to 311 unselected cases of ischemic stroke from two 4 month surveys.

Results: ABAO diagnosis increased from 0.3% of all-cause ischemic stroke (2003–2004) to 1.1% (2007), reflecting the increased use of non-invasive vascular imaging. In comparison to all-cause ischemic stroke, ABAO patients were younger (mean age 60 vs. 71 years), were more likely to be male (89% vs. 60%), had less atrial fibrillation (7% vs. 26%), more severe strokes (baseline NIHSS over 20: 52% vs. 12%), higher admission white cell count (12,000 vs. 9000 cells/mm3) lower admission systolic blood pressure (140 ± 24 vs. 153 ± 27 mmHg), higher in-hospital mortality rates (30% vs. 8%) and worse functional outcome (modified Rankin scale ≤ 3, 22% vs. 56%) (P < 0.05 for all). Rates of reperfusion therapy for ABAO increased from 0 in 2003–2004 to 60% in 2007.

Conclusions: In this study, ABAO patients represented approximately 1% of all-cause ischemic stroke and were about a decade younger than patients with all-cause ischemic stroke. We report a lower ABAO mortality compared to previous more selected case series; however, most survivors had a poor functional outcome. Given the marked clinical heterogeneity of ABAO, a low threshold for non-invasive vascular imaging with a view to definitive reperfusion treatment is needed.

[1] ABAO = acute basilar artery occlusion

August 2010
F. Shibli, B. Chazan, O. Nitzan, E. Flatau, H. Edelstein, O. Blondheim, R. Raz and R. Colodner

Background: Community-acquired pneumonia is a common infection and is associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality. Most patients with CAP[1] are treated empirically.

Objectives: To identify common pathogens causing CAP in hospitalized patients in northern Israel and to evaluate the correlation between etiology and disease severity.

Methods: We conducted a prospective study of patients with CAP hospitalized at HaEmek Medical Center, Afula. We collected demographic, clinical and laboratory data (blood and sputum cultures, serology, pneumococcal urinary antigen test, and respiratory multiplex-polymerase chain reaction from nasopharyngeal swab), and radiologic evaluation was performed.

Results: A total of 126 patients and 24 controls were enrolled. At least one pathogen was identified in 84 cases (66.7%), more than one in 43 patients (34.1%), and no pathogens in 42 (33.3%). Typical bacteria were found in 23 (18.3%), atypical bacteria in 66 (52.4%), and viruses in 42 (33.3%). The number (%) of patients with pathogens isolated was: Chlamydophila pneumoniae 26 (20.6%), Streptococcus pneumoniae 23 (18.3%), Mycoplasma pneumoniae 23 (18.3%), influenza virus A-B 20 (15.9%), Coxiella burnetti 8 (6.3%), and parainfluenza and adenovirus 13 (10.3%) each. A correlation was found only between a high PORT score on admission and S. pneumoniae, although atypical pathogens did not show class predominance.

Conclusions: S. pneumoniae, M. pneumoniae and C. pneumoniae were the most common pathogens isolated, while co-infection was very frequent. PORT score did not predict any of the pathogens involved. The choice of empiric antimicrobial treatment for CAP should be made according to local epidemiologic data.

[1] CAP = community-acquired pneumonia

January 2010
M. Godfrey, M.S. Schimmel, C. Hammerman, B. Farber, J. Glaser and A. Nir

Background: The incidence of congenital heart defects, reported to be 5–8/1000 in term infants, is not well established in very low birth weight infants.

Objectives: To establish the incidence of congenital heart defects in VLBW[1] infants in the neonatal intensive care unit of our institution.

Methods: A retrospective analysis of the population in the NICU[2] at our institution was performed. VLBW (BW ≤ 1500 g) infants born between 2001 and 2006 who survived more than 48 hours were included in the study. Infants with clinical signs of heart disease underwent echocardiography.

Results: During the study period 437 VLBW live-born infants met the inclusion criteria. Of these, 281 (64.3 %) underwent echocardiography. CHD[3] was detected in 19 infants (4.4%, 95% confidence interval 2.4–5.4%), significantly higher than the incidence of 5–8/1000 in the general population (P < 0.0001). In the subgroup of 154 infants with BW < 1000 g there were 10 (6.5%) with CHD. In the subgroup of 283 infants with BW 100–-1500 g there were 9 (3.2 %, P = 0.19 vs. VLBW) with CHD.

Conclusions:  Our observations show an increased incidence of CHD in VLBW neonates, as compared to the general population. Since not all infants underwent echocardiography, and minor cardiac defects may have been missed in our VLBW infants, the true incidence may be higher than reported here.


[1] VLBW = very low birth weight

[2] NICU = neonatal intensive care unit

[3] CHD = congenital heart disease

December 2009
P. Rozen, I. Liphshitz, G. Rosner, M. Barchana, J. Lachter, S. Pel, T. Shohat, E. Santo, and the Israeli Pancreatic Cancer Consortium

Pancreatic cancer is not a common malignancy in Israel, but it is the third most common cause of cancer mortality, attributable to a lack of screening tests, inaccessibility of the pancreas, and late cancer stage at diagnosis. We reviewed the epidemiology, known risk factors and screening methods available in Israel and describe the Israeli national consortium that was established to identify persons at risk and decide on screening methods to detect and treat their early-stage pancreatic cancer. In collaboration with the Israel National Cancer Registry, we evaluated the incidence and trends of the disease in the Jewish and non-Jewish populations. The consortium reviewed known lifestyle risk habits and genetic causes, screening methodologies used and available in Israel. Overall, there are about 600 new patients per year, with the highest incidence occurring in Jewish men of European birth (age-standardized rate 8.11/105 for 2003–06). The 5 year survival is about 5%. The consortium concluded that screening will be based on endoscopic ultrasonography. Pancreatic cancer patients and families at risk will be enrolled, demographic and lifestyle data collected and a cancer pedigree generated. Risk factors will be identified and genetic tests performed as required. This concerted national program to identify persons at risk, recommend which environmental risk factors to avoid and treat, and perform endoscopic ultrasound and genetic screening where appropriate, might reduce their incidence of invasive pancreatic cancer and/or improve its prognosis


October 2009
N. Koren-Morag, D. Tanne and U. Goldbourt

Background: The incidence of stroke varies among ethnically and culturally diverse groups.

Objectives: To examine the ethnic-geographic patterns of stroke incidence in men and women with coronary heart disease in Israel, focusing on the extent to which this variability can be explained by known differences in risk factors for stroke.

Methods: Patients with documented coronary heart disease were followed for 6–8 years for incident cerebrovascular events. Baseline medical evaluation included assessment of vascular risk factors and measures of blood lipids. Among 15,052 patients, a total of 1110 were identified with any incident ischemic cerebrovascular event by ICD-9 codes, of whom 613 had confirmed ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack.

Results: A major excess of ischemic cerebrovascular events among Israeli Arab women as compared to males, and an inverse finding among Israeli born Jews, were noted. The high risk in the Arab population in Israel reflected an unfavorable risk profile, since predicted rates by multivariate analysis and observed rates were 69 and 68 per 1000, respectively. High ischemic cerebrovascular event rates were identified among patients born in the Balkan countries and North Africa (89 and 90 per 1000) but unfavorable risk factor levels of these individuals did not explain them. Most trends appeared similar in male and female patients. A comparison of observed and accepted-according-to-risk-profile rates of ischemic cerebrovascular events yielded significant differences (P = 0.04), consistent with an additional role of geographic/ethnic origin, resulting from factors that remain unrecognized,or with variables unassessed in this study.

Conclusions: We identified an ethnic diversity in stroke risk among Israeli born in different parts of the world beyond what could be expected on the basis of differences in known risk factors. These findings call for detailed research aimed at identifying additional differences in the risk profile of patients with atherothrombotic disease exposed to an increased risk of stroke.

B. Chazan ,R. Raz, N. Teitler, O. Nitzan, H. Edelstein and R. Colodner

Background: Identification of pathogens and their susceptibility to antimicrobials is mandatory for successful empiric antibiotic treatment.

Objectives: To compare the clinical characteristics of patients with bacteremia, as well as the bacterial distribution and antimicrobial susceptibility in community, hospital and long-term care facilities during two periods (2001–2002 and 2005–2006).

Methods: The study was conducted at the HaEmek Medical Center, a community 500-bed teaching hospital in northern Israel serving a population of ~500,000 inhabitants. All episodes of bacteremia (n=1546) during two 2 year periods (2001–2 and 2005–6) were prospectively recorded, evaluated and compared (755 in 2001–2 and 791 in 2005–6).

Results: In both periods the urinary tract was the main port of entry in community and long-term care facility bacteremia, while the urinary tract – primary and catheter-related – were similar in frequency as sources of hospital bacteremia. Escherichia coli was the most frequent pathogen isolate. No significant changes in the frequency of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing bacteria were seen between the two 2 year periods (2001–2 and 2005–6). The susceptibility of non-ESBL[1]-producing E. coli decreased for some antibiotics while non-ESBL-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae susceptibility profile improved in the same period. A non-statistically significant trend of increased resistance in gram-negative isolates to quinolones, piperacillin and piperacillin-tazobactam was observed, but most isolates still remained highly susceptible to carbapenems. There was a small increase in mortality rate in hospital bacteremia during the second period.

Conclusions: Continuous surveillance is imperative for monitoring the local epidemiology and for developing local treatment guidelines.


[1] ESBL = extended-spectrum beta-lactamase

May 2009
S. Frenkel, K. Hendler and J. Pe’er

Background: Uveal melanoma is the most common primary intraocular tumor in adults. In the last two decades the Hadassah-Hebrew University ocular oncology clinic has become a referral center for uveal melanoma patients.

Objectives: To describe the characteristics of uveal melanoma patients in Israel, their treatment modalities and outcomes during the years 1988–2007.

Methods: Data were collected from the files of uveal melanoma patients in the departments of ophthalmology and oncology in our facility. Statistical analysis was performed using JMP statistical software.

Results: Data were available for 558 patients. The annual incidence of uveal melanoma in the last 5 years was 47.2 ± 7.1 new cases per year (mean ± standard error). There were 309 women (55.4%). The age at diagnosis was 60.8 ± 16.5 years (range 5–95). Overall, 6.6%, 16.8% and 86.9% involved the iris, ciliary-body and choroid, respectively. Tumors were classified as small, medium and large (9.0%, 64.5% and 17.9%, respectively) according to the COMS grouping criteria. The most common primary treatment was brachytherapy (74%), followed by enucleation (17.9%). Local recurrence was noted in 11.1% of patients, while metastases developed in 13.3%. The 5, 10 and 15 year melanoma-related mortality rate was 11.4%, 17.0% and 23.3%, respectively. Of the overall study population 9.3% died of metastatic uveal melanoma.

Conclusions: Uveal melanoma patients in Israel have tumors with characteristics similar to those in other countries. Brachytherapy is the predominant treatment, the local recurrence rate is low, and survival is comparable to that reported in the medical literature.

November 2008
Y. Bentur et al

Background: The Israel National Poison Information Center, Rambam Health Care Campus, provides telephone consultations on clinical toxicology as well as drug and teratogen information around the clock. The Center participates in research, teaching and regulatory activities, and also provides laboratory services.

Objectives: To analyze data on the epidemiology of poisonings and poison exposures in Israel.

Methods: We conducted computerized queries and a descriptive analysis of the medical records database of the IPIC[1] during 2007.

Results: Overall, 26,738 poison exposure cases were recorded, a 118.5% increase compared to 1995. Children under 6 years old were involved in 45% of cases; 73% of the calls were made by the public and 25.5% by physicians; 74.4% of exposures were unintentional and 9.2% intentional. Chemicals were involved in 37.9% of cases, pharmaceuticals in 44.2%, bites and stings in 4.3% and poisonous plants in 1.2%. Substances most frequently involved were analgesics, cleaning products and antimicrobials. Clinical severity was moderate/major in 3.5%. Substances most frequently involved in moderate/major exposures were insecticides, drugs of abuse and corrosives. Eight fatalities were recorded – three unintentional exposures (all chemicals) and five intentional (chemicals, medications, drugs of abuse).

Conclusions: The rates of poison exposures and poisonings in Israel have increased significantly, contributing substantially to morbidity and mortality. The IPIC database is a valuable national resource for collecting and monitoring cases of poison exposure and can be used as a real-time surveillance system. It is recommended that reporting to the IPIC become mandatory and that its activities be adequately supported by national resources.


[1] IPIC = Israel National Poison Information Center

October 2008
G. Katz, R. Durst, E. Shufman, R. Bar-Hamburger and L. Grunhaus

Background: In recent years, mother to child transmission of human immunodeficiency virus in the west has decreased markedly due to the advent of antiretroviral drugs given during pregnancy, cessation of lactation and careful monitoring of viral load in the perinatal period.

To assess mother to child transmission of HIV[1] among Ethiopian immigrants and non-Ethiopians in the Jerusalem area.

We conducted a prospective analysis of all deliveries of HIV-positive women in the Jerusalem district over a 10 year period.

Between 1996 and 2006, 35 HIV+ women gave birth to 45 infants. Thirty-one (88%) of these women were of Ethiopian origin and gave birth to 39 infants. Of the 35 HIV+ women, 30 were aware of being HIV positive. They gave birth to 40 infants. Another 5 women (14%) were not aware of being HIV+ during delivery. They gave birth to five infants. Of the group of known HIV+ women, 26 (87%) were Ethiopian immigrants who delivered 34 infants and 4 were non-Ethiopians who delivered 6 infants. In the group of five women not aware of being HIV+, all were Ethiopians. Breast-feeding data were available for 32 of the 35 women. Only 2 women (6.2%) breast-fed their babies. Neither was aware of being HIV+. In the Ethiopian immigrant group (both known and unknown HIV status), 11 deliveries (28%) were vaginal, 18 (46%) were elective cesarean section and 10 (26%) were delivered by emergency cesarean section. Of the 26 known HIV+ Ethiopian women, 3 (12%) refused to take antiretroviral treatment despite repeated counseling. In the non-Ethiopian group, all deliveries were elective cesarean sections. Mother to child transmission of HIV occurred in 4 of the total 45 deliveries (8.8%). Of the 4 transmission cases, 2 occurred among 40 deliveries of known HIV+ women (5%), and 2 occurred among the 5 deliveries of women not aware of being HIV+ (40%, P = 0.05). In the group of Ethiopian women only, HIV transmission occurred in 4 of 39 deliveries (10%), of which 2 occurred among 34 deliveries (5.8%) of women know to be HIV+ and 2 among 5 deliveries (40%) of women not aware of being HIV+ (P = 0.08).

Pregnant Ethiopian immigrants whose HIV status was known during pregnancy were at relatively high risk of HIV transmission despite the availability of antiretroviral drugs and counseling. This is likely due to inadequate adherence to ART[2] preventive regimens and is not dissimilar to the poor adherence observed among other immigrant groups in western countries. The substantial proportion of women, all Ethiopians, unaware of being HIV+ at delivery, together with the significantly higher HIV transmission in that group compared to women who knew their HIV status, call for a revision of the current Ministry of Health opt-in policy for prenatal HIV screening.


[1] HIV = human immunodeficiency virus

[2] ART = antiretroviral therapy

G. Katz, R. Durst, E. Shufman, R. Bar-Hamburger and L. Grunhaus

Background: The co-morbidity rate of illicit substance abuse and major mental problems in Israel is far from clear.

Objectives: To investigate the extent of drug abuse in a sample of psychiatric patients hospitalized in a psychiatric hospital and in the psychiatric department of a general hospital in Israel, to compare demographic and other background factors in dual-diagnosis patients with those of abuse-free mental inpatients, and to examine the time correlation between drug abuse and the appearance of major mental problems.

Methods: Our data were derived from self-report and urine tests. The study population comprised 470 consecutively admitted patients – 250 patients in the mental health center and 220 patients in the psychiatric department of the general hospital.

Results: The lifetime prevalence of drug abuse was 24%; cannabis abuse was found in 19.7%, opiates in 5.7%, cocaine in 2.7%, amphetamines in 3.4% and methamphetamine in 1.1%. Active abuse of drugs (during the last month) was registered in 17.3%, cannabis in 11.5%, opiates in 4.9%, amphetamine in 3.8%, cocaine in 1.3% and methamphetamine in 1.1%. We also found that 28.2% of active abusers used two or more substances. In 41.6% the drug abuse appeared prior to symptoms of the mental disorder; in 37.1% the duration of the mental disorders and the drug abuse was relatively similar, and in 21.3% of cases the duration of mental problems was longer than the duration of drug abuse. Dual-diagnosis patients were younger than non-abusers, more often male, unmarried, and of western origin.

Conclusions: Substance abuse (especially cannabis) among hospitalized psychiatric patients in Israel is a growing problem.

June 2008
B.B. Davidovici, R. Dodiuk-Gad, D. Rozenman and S. Halevy

Background: Acute generalized exanthematous pustulosis is a rare pustular severe cutaneous adverse reaction characterized by a rapid clinical course and unique histological findings. It is usually attributed to drugs, although other factors have also been implicated.

Objectives: To analyze demographic, clinical and laboratory data of AGEP[1] cases in Israel, based on the RegisCAR study, a multinational European study.

Methods: Patients included in the present study were actively recruited by the Israeli RegiSCAR network, which comprised 10 dermatology departments and units. The cases were validated by a multinational expert committee of dermatologists based on a standardized scoring system.

Results: Overall, 11 potential cases of AGEP were collected in Israel: 9 (81.8%) definite and 2 (19.2%) possible. The adjusted annual incidence of AGEP in Israel was 0.35/million/year. The nine definite cases that entered the analyses showed a male/female ratio of 0.28 with an age range of 10–60 years. Most cases were reported during the summer months. The clinical course and laboratory findings in most of our patients were in accordance with previous reports. A drug etiology was suspected in the majority of cases and consisted of analgesics (66.7%), antibiotics (22.2%) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (11.1%) as the main culprit drugs.

Conclusions: Whereas the clinical and laboratory findings of AGEP in Israel corresponded to the reported features of AGEP in the literature, unique findings consisting of marked female predominance, seasonality and a profile of culprit drugs were noted.

[1] AGEP = acute generalized exanthematous pustulosis

April 2008
F. Serour, A. Gorenstein and M. Boaz

Background: Reports of burn injuries in children are usually made by highly specialized burn units. Our facility admits children with burns < 20% total body surface area, while those with major burns are transferred to burn units at tertiary care facilities.

Objectives: To review our experience with thermal burns.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of all thermal burns admitted to our hospital during a 5 year period.

Results: Among 266 patients (69.2% boys) aged 3.5 ± 3.6 years, children < 3 years old were the most frequently injured (64.7%). Scalds (71.4%) were the most common type of burn. Partial thickness burns were sustained by 96.6% of children and TBSA[1] burned was 4.2 ± 3.6%. The mean hospital stay was 3.8 ± 4.5 days, and was significantly prolonged in girls (4.6 ± 4.8 vs. 3.5 ± 4.3 days, P = 0.01). Percent TBSA burned was correlated with patient age (r = 0.12, P = 0.04) and length of hospital stay (r = 0.6, P < 0.0001). Six patients (2.3%) (mean age 3.4 ± 2.3 years) were hospitalized in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit due to toxin-mediated illness.

Conclusions: Children under the age of 3 years are at increased risk for burn injury, but older children sustain more extensive injuries. Prevention and awareness are needed for child safety.

[1] TBSA = total body surface area

February 2008
T. Brosh-Nissimov, O. Havkin, N. Davidovitch L. Poles and C. Shapira

The lethal poisoning of Alexander Litvinenco with the radioactive element polonium-210, and the risk that many civilians (including Israeli citizens) who were in the same location in London at the same time were exposed to radiation, was an unprecedented event in the western world. This was only the second known death due to 210Po[1], a natural alpha radiation-emitting element. A task team was created to handle the event. The team comprised representatives from the Ministry of Health's advisory committee for radiological events (which includes the Israel Defense Force, the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission and the Ministry of Environmental Protection), the Public Health Services Central District, and a public relations expert. Forty-seven people were located and underwent an epidemiological inquiry, and urine samples for detection of 210Po were sent abroad to a specialized laboratory. The radiotoxicological results were analyzed and evaluated by the expert team and follow-up recommendations were made. This unfamiliar and potentially stressful scenario was handled successfully by a multi-organizational multidisciplinary task team. The joint work of the task team was a real-life "exercise" simulating a radiological event in Israel. This team has recommended further evaluation of various vital missions in the event of any possible future radiological event, with special emphasis on a proactive communication approach to the media and the public.

[1] 210Po = polonium-210

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