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עמוד בית
Sat, 20.04.24

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September 2023
Alaa Atamna MD, Evgeny Berkov MD, Genady Drozdinsky MD, Tzippy Shochat MD, Haim Ben Zvi MD, Noa Eliakim-Raz MD, Jihad Bishara MD, Avishay Elis MD

Background: Influenza and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are respiratory diseases with similar modes of transmission. In December 2021, influenza re-emerged after it had been undetected since March 2020 and the Omicron variant replaced the Delta variant. Data directly comparing the two diseases are scarce.

Objectives: To compare the outcomes of patients with both the Omicron variant and influenza during 2021–2022.

Methods: We performed a retrospective study conducted in Beilinson hospital, Israel, from December 2021 to January 2022. We included all hospitalized patients with either laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 or influenza. The primary outcome was 30-day mortality.

Results: We identified 167 patients diagnosed with Omicron and 221 diagnosed with Influenza A. The median age was 71 years for Omicron and 65 years for influenza. Patients with Omicron had a significantly higher Charlson Comorbidity Index score (4 vs. 3, P < 0.001). Patients with Omicron developed more respiratory failure that needed mechanical ventilation (7% vs. 2%, P = 0.05) and vasopressors (14% vs. 2%, P < 0.001) than patients with influenza. In a multivariate model, 30-day mortality was lower in patients diagnosed with influenza than in patients diagnosed with Omicron (19/221 [9%] vs. 44/167 [26%], hazard ratio 0.45, 95% confidence interval 0.25–0.81).

Conclusions: Patients diagnosed with Omicron had higher mortality than patients diagnosed with seasonal influenza. This finding could be due to differences in co-morbidities, the virus pathogenicity, and host responses to infection.

March 2021
Liran Shechtman MD, Karney Lahad MD, and Ilan Ben-Zvi MD
December 2018
Said Abo Zaid MD, Shira Shoher MD, Merav Elovits MD, Wael Nasser MD, Goor Zamir MD, Wisam Abo Zaid MD and Avi On MD
July 2018
Alexander Korytny MD, Adi Kibari MD, Itzhak Rosner MD and Devy Zisman MD
December 2016
Najwan Nasrallah MD, Yael Shachor-Meyouhas MD, Zipi Kra-Oz PhD, Tania Mashiach MA, Moran Szwarcwort-Cohen PhD, Eynat Shafran MSc and Imad Kassis MD

Background: In March 2009 the pandemic influenza A (H1N1) strain was identified. The disease initially appeared to be accompanied by complications and high mortality rates. It became an endemic virus during the influenza season in our region, along with the classical seasonal H3N2.

Objectives: To identify the burden of pandemic influenza, its effect in pediatric patients, and complicated hospitalizations, compared to seasonal influenza years after the pandemic.

Methods: A retrospective observational study was conducted at a tertiary hospital. Data were collected from the medical records of all children who were hospitalized from April 2009 to 2011 with laboratory-confirmed influenza.

Results: Of 191 patients with influenza, 100 had the 2009 pandemic influenza, 62 had seasonal influenza, and 29 had H1N1 in 2010–2011. Patients with the 2009 H1N1 were characterized by older age, more co-morbidity conditions and more symptoms including fever, cough and rhinitis on admission. No significant differences in outcomes between the groups were recorded. Of patients hospitalized with pandemic influenza in 2009, 28% had complicated hospitalizations, compared with 17.7% of patients hospitalized with seasonal influenza in 2010–11. Children with pandemic influenza received more oseltamivir (Tamiflu®) (94% vs. 19.4%, P < 0.001) and more antibiotics than the other groups.

Conclusions: The type of influenza had no effect on outcome. There were no significant differences between groups in the percentages of in-hospital mortality, admission to intensive care units, prolonged hospitalization (> 9 days), or the development of complications during hospitalization.

 

September 2016
Keren Cohen-Hagai MD, Ilan Rozenberg MD, Ze'ev Korzets MBBS, Tali Zitman-Gal PhD, Yael Einbinder MD and Sydney Benchetrit MD

Background: Upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) occurs frequently in the general population and is considered a benign self-limited disease. Dialysis patients constitute a high risk population whose morbidity and mortality rate as a result of URTI is unknown. 

Objectives: To assess the local incidence, morbidity and mortality of URTI in dialysis patients compared to the general population. 

Methods: In this retrospective cohort study we reviewed the charts of all chronic dialysis patients diagnosed with URTI at Meir Medical Center, Kfar Saba, Israel during the 2014–2015 winter season. 

Results: Among 185 dialysis patients, 40 were found to be eligible for the study. The average age was 66.1 ± 15.7 years, and the co-morbidity index was high. Influenza A was the most common pathogen found, followed by rhinovirus, respiratory syncytial virus and para-influenza. Of the 40 patients 21 (52.5%) developed complications: pneumonia in 20%, hospitalization in 47.5%, and respiratory failure requiring mechanical ventilation in 12.5%. Overall mortality was 10%. General population data during the same seasonal period showed a peak pneumonia incidence of 4.4% compared to 20% in the study population (P < 0.0001). 

Conclusions: The study findings show that compared to the general population, URTI in dialysis patients is a much more severe disease and has a higher complication rate. Influenza A, the most common pathogen, is associated with a worse prognosis. 

 

April 2016
S. Sohail Ahmed MD, Emanuele Montomoli PhD, Franco Laghi Pasini MD and Lawrence Steinman MD

Despite the very high benefit-to-risk ratio of vaccines, the fear of negative side effects has discouraged many people from getting vaccinated, resulting in the reemergence of previously controlled diseases such as measles, pertussis and diphtheria. This fear has been amplified more recently by multiple epidemiologic studies that confirmed the link of an AS03-adjuvanted pandemic influenza vaccine (Pandemrix®, GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, Germany) used in Europe during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic [A(H1N1)pdm09] with the development of narcolepsy, a chronic sleep disorder, in children and adolescents. However, public misperceptions of what adjuvants are and why they are used in vaccines has created in some individuals a closed “black box” attitude towards all vaccines. The focus of this review article is to revisit this “black box” using the example of narcolepsy associated with the European AS03-adjuvanted pandemic influenza vaccine.

January 2016
Zaher Atamna MD, Bibiana Chazan MD, Orna Nitzan MD, Raul Colodner PhD, Hila Kfir MD, Merav Strauss PhD, Naama Schwartz PhD and Arie Markel MD

Background: Recent studies show that vaccination of health care workers (HCW) might reduce influenza transmission and mortality among hospitalized patients. No studies have compared the incidence of laboratory-proven influenza in vaccinated versus unvaccinated hospital HCW. 

Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of influenza vaccination among hospital HCW and to examine the attitudes of this population towards influenza vaccination.

Methods: We performed a prospective cohort study between 1 January and 30 April 2014 of 1641 HCW at our medical center; 733 were vaccinated and 908 not vaccinated. A random sample of 199 subjects was obtained: 97 vaccinated and 102 non-vaccinated. Participating individuals were contacted on a weekly basis during the flu season and were asked to report any respiratory or flu symptoms and, if positive, to undergo a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for influenza. 

Results: In the general HCW population, vaccination was more frequent among physicians 298/498 (58%) than among nurses (324/862 (38%) and among males than females. Flu symptoms were reported by 20 of 199 participants, 13 in the non-vaccinated group (12.7%) and 7 in the vaccinated group (7.2%). A positive PCR test for influenza A virus was present in 4 of 20 people tested (20%). All positive cases were from the non-vaccinated group (P = 0.0953). 

Conclusions: Non-vaccinated HCW showed a higher, although not statistically significant, tendency for contracting laboratory-proven influenza than the vaccinated population. The main reasons for vaccination and non-vaccination were personal beliefs and habits. Education efforts are needed to improve compliance. Larger studies could further clarify this issue.

 

June 2015
Shay Weiss PhD, Shmuel Yitzhaki PhD and Shmuel C. Shapira MD MPH

Abstract

During recent months, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the occurrence of three major biosafety incidents, raising serious concern about biosafety and biosecurity guideline implementation in the most prestigious agencies in the United States: the CDC, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). These lapses included: a) the mishandling of Bacillus anthracis spores potentially exposing dozens of employees to anthrax; b) the shipment of low pathogenic influenza virus unknowingly cross-contaminated with a highly pathogenic strain; and c) an inventory lapse of hundreds of samples of biological agents, including six vials of variola virus kept in a cold storage room for decades, unnoticed. In this review we present the published data on these events, report the CDC inquiry’s main findings, and discuss the key lessons to be learnt to ensure safer scientific practice in biomedical and microbiological service and research laboratories.

November 2014
Ori Lev PhD and Bracha Rager-Zisman PhD

Emerging and re-emerging infections cause huge concern among public health workers and international and national bodies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Indeed, scientists around the world express the view that despite the danger, research on these emerging virulent pathogens is crucial and must continue. While most of the studies underway are targeted at improving and protecting public health, some studies bear potentially serious risks resulting from misuse. These studies are defined as dual-use research (DUR) of concern, where it is not evident that the benefits outweigh the risks. The H5N1 controversy has pushed various governments to institute new policies to govern such research. We describe the regulations that govern this emerging field of research in the United States and Israel, two countries that have taken leading stands on these issues. We suggest that the existing policies are able to mitigate many of the risks that this research encapsulates, yet more work is required – especially on the global level.

February 2014
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