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עמוד בית
Sun, 23.06.24

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July 2014
Natalya Bilenko MD PhD MPH, Drora Fraser PhD, Hillel Vardy BA and Ilana Belmaker MD MPH
Background: A high prevalence of iron deficiency anemia persists in Bedouin Arab and Jewish pediatric populations in southern Israel.

Objectives: To compare the effect of daily use of multiple micronutrient supplementation (MMS), "Sprinkles," a powdered formulation of iron, vitamins A and C, folic acid and zinc, with liquid iron and vitamins A and D on iron deficiency at 12 months of age.

Methods: The 621 eligible Bedouin and Jewish infants in the study were assigned to the MMS and control arms and received their supplementations from age 6 to 12 months. We examined the change in hemoglobin, hematocrit, mean cell volume, red blood cell distribution, serum ferritin and transferrin saturation. In addition, we used the high Iron Deficiency Index (IDI) if two or more of the above six parameters showed abnormal levels. 

Results: Rates of anemia decreased significantly over the 6 month period, from 58.8% to 40.6% among Bedouin infants (P = 0.037) and from 40.6 to 15.8% among Jewish infants (P = 0.017). In Bedouin infants the prevalence of high IDI decreased significantly from 79.2% to 67.4% (P = 0.010) in the MMS group, but there was no change in the controls. Among Jewish infants, the high IDI prevalence decreased from 67% to 55.6% with no statistically significant difference in the two study arms. In the multivariate analysis in Bedouin infants MMS use was associated with a reduced risk of 67% in high IDI at age 12 months as compared to controls (P = 0.001). Fewer side effects in the intervention groups in both ethnic populations were reported.

Conclusions: MMS fortification of home food can be recommended as an effective and safe method for preventing iron deficiency anemia at 12 months of age. 
August 2012
S. Ben Shimol, L. Dukhan, I. Belmaker, S. Bardenstein, D. Sibirsky, C. Barrett and D. Greenberg

Background: Human brucellosis is common in southern Israel among the semi-nomadic Bedouin, a population that consumes unpasteurized dairy products. Though camel milk ingestion is a known mechanism for brucellosis acquisition, only a few reports of sporadic cases have been published in the medical literature.

Objectives: To describe a local brucellosis outbreak in 15 extended Bedouin family members, following ingestion of infected camel milk.

Methods: Data regarding patient’s clinical manifestations, laboratory findings, treatment and outcome were collected from the hospital and the health fund clinics’ computerized database. Camel’s blood and milk were tested for Brucella serology and culture. Cases were defined by positive Rose Bengal test, symptoms correlating with brucellosis, and consumption of infected camel milk.

Results: Fifteen patients were diagnosed with acute brucellosis from March to June 2011. Sixty percent of cases had serum agglutination test titers of 1:160 or higher and 4/8 (50%) had positive blood culture for Brucella melitensis. Arthralgia and fever were the most consistent clinical manifestations. Blood and milk serology and milk culture taken from the female camel were positive for Brucella melitensis.

Conclusions: The treating physicians must consider the possibility of infected camel milk ingestion as the mode of infection, both in sporadic cases and in outbreaks of brucellosis.

June 2010
N. Bilenko, I. Belmaker, H. Vardi and D. Fraser
Background: The rates of anemia in children in southern Israel are high despite the current prevention strategy. A daily dose of Sprinkles (SuppleForteTM, Heinz, Canada), a micronutrient home supplementation, was proven effective for the treatment of anemia worldwide.

Objectives: To assess the efficacy of Sprinkles, a novel supplementation formulation, in the primary prevention of anemia in infants who have free access to health care services. Methods: A two-arm open-labeled cluster randomized controlled clinical trial was performed in 6 month old Bedouin and Jewish infants. The Sprinkles arm received sachets with iron, vitamins A and C, folic acid and zinc, and the control arm received standard treatment (liquid iron and vitamins A and D). The infants were from families attending Maternal and Child Health clinics during 2005–2008. Intervention and follow-up were conducted for babies aged 6–12 months. Health outcomes (hematologic and nutritional indicators, growth parameters, morbidity rates) were evaluated at 12 and 18 months.

Results: The final study population numbered 621 infants (328 Bedouin and 293 Jewish) of the parents approached 88.5% agreed to participate. Hemoglobin above 11 g/dl was found in 55% of Bedouin and 40% of Jewish infants (P < 0.01). Bedouin infants had significantly lower serum concentration of iron, folic acid and zinc. All background, hematologic and micronutrient indicators were similar in the two study arms except for a slightly but not clinically significant difference in hemoglobin and hematocrit levels in Bedouins.

Conclusions: Our findings indicate the need to improve the micronutrient status of infants living in the Negev. A cluster randomized trial in MCH[1] clinics is a feasible option. 

[1] MHC = mother and child health

September 2008
January 2004
I. Belmaker, M. Alkan, A. Barnea, L. Dukhan, S. Yitzhaki and E. Gross

Background: Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease that occurs worldwide, found predominantly in agricultural workers, port workers and dairy workers.

Objective: To investigate the risk of disease transmission to dairy workers following an outbreak in 1999 of Leptospirosis hardjo in the dairy herds of two kibbutzim in southern Israel.

Methods:  A seroepidemiologic survey of all the dairy workers from these two kibbutzim was conducted, including individual interview and examination. Data were collected on the presence of clinical symptoms of leptospirosis during the previous month. One month later the medical personnel on the two kibbutzim were contacted in order to determine if any worker had subsequently developed clinical signs or symptoms of leptospirosis. All dairy workers had blood drawn for serology. Those workers whose initial serology had been borderline for leptospirosis had a repeated serology test between 2 and 4 weeks later. Doxycycline was given prophylactically to all dairy workers on one kibbutz only.

Results:  Either with or without chemoprophylaxis, no dairy workers exposed to herds infected with Leptospira hardjo showed evidence of seroconversion or disease. This indicated a low risk of transmission of this serovar from cows to dairy workers.

Conclusion: Since human illness with leptospirae can cause illness associated with significant morbidity we recommend that dairy workers exposed to an infected herd receive doxycycline prophylaxis.

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