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עמוד בית
Mon, 20.03.23

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July 2007
O.Kalter-Leibovici, A.Atamna, F.Lubin, G.Alpert, M.Gillon Keren, H.Murad A.Chetrit, D.Goffer, S.Eilat-Adar, and U.Goldbourt

Background: Arabs in Israel have high morbidity and mortality from diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Obesity is a risk factor for both conditions.

Objectives: To investigate the prevalence of obesity (body mass index > 30 kg/m2), subjects' knowledge and behaviors, and their reports on practices of health-care professionals regarding body weight among Arabs and Jews.

Methods: The study participants (n=880) were randomly sampled from the urban population of the Hadera district in Israel. Data on demographic, socioeconomic and lifestyle characteristics; reports on height, current body weight and body weight at the age of 18 years; knowledge and behavior; and health-care professionals' practices with regard to body weight were obtained by interview. Anthropometric measurements were performed subsequently.

Results: Information on BMI[1] was available on 868 participants (49% Arabs, 49% women, median age 46 years). Although the median BMI did not differ significantly between Arabs and Jews at age 18, the prevalence of current obesity was 52% in Arab women compared to 31% in Jewish women (P < 0.001), and 25% in Arab men compared to 23% in Jewish men (P = 0.6). On multivariate analysis, obesity was significantly associated with age, BMI at the age of 18 years, leisure time physical activity and cigarette smoking, but not with ethnicity. Fewer Arabs reported measuring their body weight and Arab women were less frequently advised to maintain an active lifestyle.

Conclusions: The high prevalence of obesity among Arab women may be explained by lifestyle characteristics. Prevention of obesity in Arabs should be directed at women and should start preferably before adulthood.

[1] BMI = body mass index

June 2007
M. Paul, A. Gafter-Gvili, L. Leibovici, J. Bishara, I. Levy, I. Yaniv, I. Shalit Z, Samra, S. Pitlik, H. Konigsberger and M. Weinberger

Background: The epidemiology of bacteremic febrile neutropenia differs between locations and constitutes the basis for selection of empiric antibiotic therapy for febrile neutropenia.

Objectives: To describe the epidemiology of bacteremia among patients with neutropenia in a single center in Israel.

Methods: We conducted a prospective data collection on all patients with neutropenia (< 500/mm3) and clinically significant bacteremia or fungemia during the period 1988–2004.

Results: Among adults (462 episodes) the most common bloodstream isolate was Esherichia coli. Gram-negative bacteria predominated throughout the study period and the ratio between Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteremia increased from 1.7 to 2.3 throughout the study period. Among children (752 episodes), the ratio between Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteremia reversed from 1.2 to 0.7, due to increasing prevalence of coagulase-negative staphylcoccal bacteremia. Both among adults and children, the length of hospital stay prior to bacteremia had a major impact on the pathogens causing bacteremia and their antibiotic susceptibilities. The prevalence of E. coli decreased with time in hospital, while the rates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Enterobacter spp., Acinetobacter spp., Enterococcus spp. and Candida spp. increased. Resistance to broad-spectrum empiric monotherapy in our center was observed in > 40% of Gram-negative bacteria when bacteremia was acquired after 14 days in hospital.
Conclusions: Improved infection-control measures for neutropenic cancer patients in our center are needed. Empiric antibiotic treatment should be tailored to patients’ risk for multidrug-resistant organisms. Individual hospitals should monitor infection epidemiology among cancer patients to guide empiric antibiotic treatment

September 2006
Y. Haron, O. Hussein, L. Epstein, D. Eilat, B. Harash and S. Linn

Background: The Muslim Circassians in Israel represent a unique ethnic community, distinct from Jews and Arabs. This endogamous group has a limited genetic variability that allows studying risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes.

Objectives: To estimate the prevalence of type 2 diabetes among Israeli Circassians and its correlation to obesity and genetic susceptibility.

Methods: Israeli Circassian women (n=450) and men (n=289) older than 35 were included in the study. They were classified as having or not having diabetes, and their risk factors, including hypertension, body mass index, family history of diabetes, and laboratory tests, were examined retrospectively.

Results: The age-adjusted prevalence of diabetes among the 739 participants was 12% (men 14.6%, women 10.7%). It was higher among those with BMI[1] > 30 than in those with lower BMI and a family history of diabetes without high BMI. But the risk of diabetes with BMI > 30 plus a family history was three times higher than when these factors were missing (odds ratio 2.96, 95% confidence interval 1.30–6.6). Multivariate analysis, however, found familial history of diabetes to be the strongest risk factor, independent of obesity (OR[2] 2.47, 95% CI[3] 1.45–4.20).

Conclusions: The results yielded by this homogeneous Circassian population, sharing the same environmental influences and having an endogamous pattern of marriage, suggest a role of genetic risk factors for diabetes. Israeli Circassians are suitable for additional genetic studies that may lead to the identification of susceptibility genes for type 2 diabetes.

[1] BMI = body mass index

[2] OR = odds ratio

[3] CI = confidence interval

May 2006
O. Hochwald, E. Bamberger and I. Srugo

The Israel Ministry of Health’s epidemiology department reported a record number of 1564 new pertussis cases in 2004. This brings the incidence rate to 23 per 100,000 population, indicating a marked increase in the prevalence of pertussis, from 1–3/100,000 in 1998, 9 in 2001, to 14 in 2003. The rate of atypical pertussis presentations in vaccinated patients, the decline in pertussis immunity post-vaccination, and the decreased awareness of potential infections in the adult population make the diagnosis of pertussis difficult and contribute to the rising incidence. In this article we review the current literature in order to increase awareness of the occurrence of pertussis in children as well as adults, discuss the laboratory diagnostic methods being used, and report the currently recommended means of treating the disease.

L. Moerman, A. Leventhal, P.E. Slater, E. Anis, R. Yishai and E. Marva

Background: Pertussis is the only vaccine-preventable disease that has re-emerged in Israel. The reported crude incidence of the disease increased 16-fold since 1998.

Objectives: To describe the epidemiology of pertussis and to explain the substantial increase in reported pertussis incidence in Israel in recent years.

Methods: Crude and specific pertussis incidence by age, patient immunization status, hospitalization rate and national immunization coverage rate were calculated from information provided by the public health offices of the Ministry of Health.

Results: The reported crude incidence of pertussis increased from 1–2/100,000 in 1994–98 to 23/100,000 in 2004. The trend was observed in all age groups, being most prominent in infants under age 1 year and in children aged 5–14. The incidence of pertussis was substantially higher in unvaccinated and partly vaccinated compared to fully vaccinated persons. Fifteen percent of notified cases were hospitalized, but in infants under age 1 year the hospitalization rate was 50%. National pertussis immunization coverage by age 2 years was stable during the last 10 years.

Conclusions: There are several possible explanations for the re-emergence of pertussis in Israel. The most plausible reason seems to be the waning of vaccine-induced immunity in face of infrequent natural exposure to the infectious agent and lack of a pertussis vaccine booster dose after age 1.

L.M. Shulman, Y. Manor, D. Sofer, T. Swartz and E. Mendelson

Background: Poliovirus rapidly evolves by nucleic acid substitutions and genetic recombination with other polioviruses and non-polio enteroviruses. Evolving oral poliovirus (Sabin strains) can rapidly revert to neurovirulence and undergo antigenic alterations.

Objectives: To evaluate the threat of vaccine-derived poliovirus (1–15% divergence from the respective Sabin strain) for a poliomyelitis-free population in a country with a long-standing routine vaccination program.

Methods: We characterized genetic and antigenic changes in OPV[1] strains isolated from sewage in Israel and evaluated intestinal immunity by measuring fecal excretion after OPV challenge of vaccinated children.

Results: Characterization of poliovirus from sewage revealed eight type 2 and three type 3 vaccine polioviruses that had replicated and started to evolve (vaccine that replicated and diverged by 0.5 to ≤ 1.0%) and nine highly diverged type 2 vaccine-derived polioviruses (1–15% divergence from the respective Sabin strain) with 8–14% divergence between the years 1998 and 2005. Six of the eleven VRPV[2] uniquely recombined with OPV and/or NPEV[3]. The nine VDPV[4] were epidemically related, genotypically neurovirulent, and had 10–15 amino acid substitutions in antigenic sites altering their antigenicity, but shared a single recombination. Type 2 OPV was excreted by 23% and 17% of infants challenged with OPV 3 months after partial immunization (two doses each of OPV and enhanced inactivated poliovirus) or full immunization (three doses of each) respectively, despite high humoral antibody titers.

Conclusions: Our findings, which show that OPV is excreted for a significant period by children with high humoral immunity, emphasize the long-term potential threat from VDPV in highly vaccinated populations. An adequate immunization program, combined with environmental surveillance, is necessary to prevent poliomyelitis and community transmission of poliovirus. 


[1] OPV = oral poliovirus

[2] VRPV = vaccine poliovirus that has replicated and started to evolve but is < 1 % but at least 0.5% diverged from the respective Sabin strain

[3] NPEV = non-polio enterovirus

[4] VDPV = vaccine-derived poliovirus 1–15% divergence from the respective Sabin strain

January 2006
D. Chemtob, D. Weiler-Ravell, A. Leventhal, H. Bibi

Background: During the last decade, Israel, a country with low tuberculosis rates, absorbed some 900,000 new immigrants from TB[1]-endemic countries.

Objectives: To analyze the specific impact of our screening procedures on active TB among children in Israel.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of epidemiologic and clinical data of all children (aged 0–17) with TB notified to the Ministry of Health between 1990 and 1999.

Results: There were 479 children with TB (male/female ratio 1.36). Most cases (81.8%) were foreign born, predominantly (88.2%) immigrants from Ethiopia and, therefore, huge differences existed in TB incidence rates according to countries of origin. Some 80% were diagnosed within 3 years of arrival, mainly due to active case-finding. Pulmonary TB, with infiltrates on chest X-ray, was found in 49.5%. Extra-pulmonary TB sites were: intra-thoracic lymphadenitis (31.1%), extra-thoracic lymphadenitis (12.5%), bones (3.6%), pleura (1.3%), meninges (1%), and others (1%). Seventy percent had a tuberculin skin test reaction ≥10 mm in size. Two (non-immigrant) children died of TB meningitis.

Conclusions: Most of the pediatric TB cases occurred in recent immigrants and were diagnosed within 3 years of immigration. These data support our policy of active case-finding among new immigrants from Ethiopia and extensive contact evaluation for all TB cases.

[1] TB = tuberculosis

November 2005
Y. Liel, H. Castel and D. Alkalay
 Background: For the last 35 years, our medical center has been the only referral center and provider of emergency medical services for a well-defined geographic area in southern Israel.

Objectives: To evaluate trends in the incidence of hip fractures in this population.

Methods: The study was based on two surveys done approximately 20 years apart. It included women and men 50 years and older with radiographic evidence of a new hip fracture caused by low impact trauma. Only fractures that resulted from low or moderate trauma were considered for the current study. Incidence rates were calculated based on population data obtained from the official Central Bureau of Statistics.

Results: There was an overall twofold increase in the incidence rate of hip fractures. However, this increase occurred almost exclusively in the over-75 year old age groups (2.5-fold increase, both in women and men). The mean (and median) age of patients with hip fractures increased significantly over the study period, corresponding with the increase in longevity between the two periods.

Conclusions: There was a marked secular increase in the incidence of proximal hip fractures in both genders, primarily because of an increase in the fracture rate in the very old. The increase in median age of fracture patients suggests that the observed increase in fracture rate can be attributed mainly to aging of the population rather than to deterioration in bone quality over the generations.

J. Delgado, A.D. Sperber, V. Novack, B. Delgado, L. Edelman, N. Gaspar, P. Krugliak, S. Odes, A.B. Jotkowitz, M. Faszczyk and A. Fich
 Background: The epidemiology of primary biliary cirrhosis has changed significantly over the last decade, with a trend towards increasing prevalence in many places around the world.

Objectives: To determine the overall prevalence of PBC[1] in southern Israel and the specific rates for different immigrant groups between January 1993 and October 2004.

Methods: Multiple case-finding methods were used to identify all cases of PBC in the study region. Age-adjusted prevalence rates were compared among the different immigrant groups.

Results: A total of 47 cases of PBC were identified with an overall prevalence of 55 cases per million. All patients were women, and all except for a Bedouin Arab were Jewish. Foreign-born patients comprised 70% of our PBC cohort even though they represent only 45.4% of the regional population. This predominance of immigrants did not change when the rates were adjusted for age (P < 0.001). The prevalence rates were 40, 177, and 58 cases per million for those born in Israel, North Africa or Asia, and Eastern Europe, respectively. The age-specific prevalence rate for women older than 40 years varied from 135 cases per million among those born in Israel to 450 among immigrants from Eastern Europe and the former USSR to 700 cases per million among immigrants from North Africa and Asia.

Conclusions: The prevalence of PBC in southern Israel is similar to that reported from some European countries. The rate is much higher among Jews than Arabs and among immigrants to Israel compared to native Israelis.


[1] PBC = primary biliary cirrhosis

March 2005
O. Goldstick and P. Jakobi
 Background: The incidence of perinatal, early-onset Group B streptococcal sepsis is very low in Israel and there are no local guidelines for prevention of the disease.

Objectives: To determine to what extent the current Centers for Disease Control guidelines are practiced in Israel, the reasons for their adoption or rejection, and the need for local official guidelines.

Methods: A telephone questionnaire was conducted of all 27 delivery units in Israel. Answers were obtained from 26, either from the clinical director or the senior obstetrician in charge at the time of the interview.

Results: Only in 2 of the 26 delivery units (8%) are the CDC[1] guidelines adhered to exactly; in 6 units they are deliberately rejected, and in 8 units they are not practiced, although they are allegedly implemented. Thus, the CDC guidelines are not practiced in 14 delivery units (54%). Medico-legal consideration is the sole or major reason for adopting these guidelines in 80% (16/20) of the delivery units where they are seemingly implemented. In the majority of these units (18/20) there is readiness to abandon current practice, should local guidelines differ from those of the CDC, provided that local guidelines are issued by an authoritative source.

Conclusion: CDC guidelines are either deliberately rejected or incorrectly practiced in most Israeli delivery units. The medico-legal argument is one of the main reasons for practicing these guidelines. Since the CDC guidelines probably do not apply in Israel, official local guidelines are urgently needed.


[1] CDC = Centers for  Disease Control

February 2005
E. Broide, M. Shapiro, I. Boldur, E. Klinowski, A.N. Kimchi, Y. Gluskin and E. Scapa

Background: Salmonella species commonly produce acute gastroenteritis. The clinical course may be affected by factors such as age, immunosuppression, and underlying disorders.

Objectives: To investigate clinical and laboratory differences in the infected population and the risk of complications according to the different age groups.

Methods: The records of 295 patients with positive cultures for Salmonella were divided into six age groups and reviewed retrospectively for the years 1994–1997. Demographic, clinical and laboratory data, extraintestinal manifestations, underlying disorders, organism source, and susceptibilty to antibiotics were analyzed.

Results: We found that 88.5% were only stool positive, 9.2% had positive blood cultures, and 2.4% were positive in both blood and stool; 3.6% were found to have underlying disorders. Anemia, disturbed liver function tests and hypoalbuminemia were the most common pathologic laboratory findings. Salmonella serogroups B and D were isolated most frequently. The rate of positive blood cultures increased significantly during the years, as did resistance to ampicillin and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. Salmonella infection has two peaks of incidence: at ages 1–5 and 15–65 years. Bacteremia was prominent in the extreme ages.

Conclusions: Salmonella infection has a different clinical presentation in different age groups. The significant increase in the rate of bacteremia in the extreme age groups necessitates a different attitude and management for these heterogeneous patient populations.

June 2004
F. Sikron, A. Giveon, L. Aharonson-Daniel and K. Peleg

Background: Although the home is perceived to be a safe haven, it is a scene of numerous injuries.

Objectives: To characterize home injury in Israel, the victims, injury circumstances and outcomes, and to identify groups at high risk for injury in order to focus future interventions and thus effectively prevent these injuries and their associated hospitalizations.

Methods: We analyzed 5 year records (1997–2001) from the National Trauma Registry of all patients arriving at eight trauma centers following home injury and admitted to hospital, transferred to another medical center or died in the emergency department.

Results: The study group included 26,921 patients, constituting 34% of all unintentional hospitalized trauma patients. Twenty-seven percent were children (0–4 years) and 37% were elderly (≥ 65 years) – the two age groups whose home injury accounted for most of the trauma injuries. Among children more boys (59%) than girls (41%) were injured, but the opposite was true for the elderly (30% males and 70% females). The share of females among the home-injured increased with age. Falls caused 79% of all home injuries (97% among the elderly) and burns 9%, increasing to 18% among children (0–4 years). Among non-Jewish home-injured patients, infants predominated (50% compared to 20% among Jews). Moderate to critical injuries amounted for 42%, with 38% of the home injured and 60% of the elderly requiring surgery. The clinical and economic consequences of home injuries differed according to the type of injury, with burns carrying the heaviest toll of prolonged intensive care and hospital stay. Overall, hospital stay averaged 6.2 days per patient (median 3 days).

Conclusions: Falls among the elderly, burns among children, and a high prevalence of hospitalization among non-Jewish children define groups at high risk for home injuries. Prevention programs should be based on these findings and should focus on the more vulnerable groups.

November 2003
July 2003
R. Mader

Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis is often incorporated into osteoarthritis. Although DISH[1] often coexists with OA, patients affected by this disorder differ from patients with primary OA in several aspects: prevalence in the general population, gender distribution, anatomic site of primary involvement, magnitude and distribution in the spine and the peripheral joints. DISH is a distinct clinical entity. Its recognition as such should stimulate clinicians and researchers to focus on its pathogenesis, treatment and prevention.

[1] DISH = diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis

June 2003
Y. Wohl and S. Brenner

Background: Despite the high incidence of pemphigus in the Jewish population, data on the epidemiology and etiology of the disease in Israel are sparse.

Objective: This study was conducted to identify clinical and epidemiologic features of pemphigus patients in Israel, while searching for risk factors that induce or exacerbate the disease.

Methods: Demographic and clinical information was recorded from the charts of 55 pemphigus patients treated over a 5 year period. A sample of 22 patients was compared to 22 age and gender-matched controls by means of a questionnaire querying details on lifestyle, including occupation, diet, sun exposure, and smoking.

Results: The findings show that the typical Israeli pemphigus patient is middle-aged, married, and of East European or Middle Eastern origin. The most common diagnosed clinical variant was pemphigus vulgaris, followed by pemphigus erythematosus. Some 70% of patients were treated with two or more immunosuppressive drugs and 62% entered long-lasting remission. Twenty-three percent of patients were exposed through their work to chemical substances, mainly pesticides, at the beginning of the disease and 18% of patients were continually exposed to ultraviolet radiation 5 years prior to onset of the disease.

Conclusions: There is a possible correlation between occupational exposure to pesticides and UV[1] radiation, and pemphigus induction.

[1] UV = ultraviolet

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