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עמוד בית
Tue, 03.10.23

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October 2012
R. Karplus, M. Weinberger, R. Zaidenstein, L. Goldshtein, N. Natif and G. Gayer

Background: During an influenza pandemic, clinicians need easily available clinical and laboratory criteria to distinguish influenza from similar respiratory illnesses. We compared A/H1N1/2009-polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-positive and matched PCR-negative hospitalized patients with suspected H1N1 influenza to identify factors that could assist physicians at patient admission.

Objectives: To identify factors significantly associated with A/H1N1/2009 infection.

Methods: A group of 145 patients with PCR-confirmed A/H1N1 2009 influenza admitted between 27 May 2009 and 3 December 2009 was matched with 145 PCR-negative patients by age, epidemiological week and pregnancy status. Epidemiological and clinical parameters and radiological findings on initial chest X-ray were compared between the two groups.

Results: Asthma (PCR+ 26%, PCR- 12%, P = 0.006) and military service (PCR+ 13%, PCR- 4%, P = 0.15) were associated with PCR-positive status in non-pregnant patients. At presentation, fever, cough, myalgia and fulfilling the pandemic influenza case definition were significantly more frequent in non-pregnant PCR+ patients (62/90/43/59% in PCR+ versus 38/69/30/35% in PCR-). In pregnant patients, fever and fulfilling the case definition were significantly associated with PCR-positive status. Mean leukocyte and absolute lymphocyte counts were significantly lower in both pregnant and non-pregnant PCR-positive patients. Significantly more PCR-negative non-pregnant patients (43% vs. 22% PCR+, P = 0.004) had abnormal chest X-ray (CXR) findings on presentation. In PCR-positive patients, patchy consolidation and interstitial infiltrates were the most common abnormalities.

Conclusions: Under the conditions generated by the A/H1N1/2009 pandemic, radiological findings did not distinguish reliably between influenza and other febrile respiratory illnesses. Asthma, military service, the pandemic case definition (particularly fever, cough and myalgia) and lymphopenia were associated with confirmed H1N1 infection.

July 2012
O. Megged, M. Bar-Meir and Y. Schlesinger
Background: The incidence of invasive disease due to Haemophilus influenzae has decreased since the implementation of vaccination against serotype B.

Objectives: To describe the epidemiology, clinical and microbiological characteristics of patients with H. influenzae meningitis or bacteremia in the vaccine era in Israel.

Methods: We reviewed the medical records of all patients admitted to Shaare Zedek Medical Center between 1997 and 2010 who had blood or cerebrospinal fluid culture positive for H. influenzae.

Results: The study group comprised 104 patients – 57 children and 47 adults. Overall, 21 (20%) of the infections were due to serotype b. The children had shorter hospitalizations (6 vs. 12 days, P = 0.005) and lower mortality rate (5% vs. 28%, P = 0.003) as compared to the adults. Bacteremic pneumonia was the most common diagnosis in adults (45% vs. 28% in children, P = 0.08) while meningitis was more common in children (17% vs. 3.5%, P = 0.09). There was a seasonal pattern, with infections being more common during the winter and spring.

Conclusions: Invasive H. influenzae disease is uncommon but still exists in both children and adults. The disease course tends to be more severe in adults. Even in the global vaccination era, serotype b constitutes a significant portion of invasive disease.
October 2011
D. Shaham, N.R. Bogot, G. Aviram, L. Guralnik, S. Lieberman, L. Copel, J. Sosna, A.E. Moses, I. Grotto and D. Engelhard

An outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel swine-origin influenza virus (influenza A/H1N1 2009) that began in Mexico was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization in June 2009. The pandemic affected many countries, including Israel.

Objectives: To compare the course of chest radiographic and computed tomography findings in patients who survived and those who died following admission to the intensive care unit (ICU) or intubation due to severe laboratory-confirmed swine-origin influenza A/H1N1 2009.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the patient records (267 radiographs, 8 CTs) of 22 patients (10 males, 12 females) aged 3.5–66 years (median 34) with confirmed influenza A/H1N1 2009, admitted to the ICU and/or intubated in five major Israeli medical centers during the period July–November 2009. We recorded demographic, clinical, and imaging findings –including pattern of opacification, extent, laterality, distribution, zone of findings, and presence/absence of nodular opacities– at initial radiography and during the course of disease, and compared the findings of survivors and non-survivors. Statistical significance was calculated using the Wilcoxon (continuous variables) and Fisher's exact tests (categorical variables).

Results: The most common findings on the initial chest radiography were airspace opacities, which were multifocal in 17patients (77%) and bilateral in 16 (73%), in the lower or lower and middle lung zones in 19 patients (86%). Large airspace nodules with indistinct margins were seen in 8 patients (36%). Twelve patients survived, 10 died. Patients who died had multiple background illnesses and were significantly older than survivors (P = 0.006). Radiologic findings for the two groups were not significantly different.

Conclusion: Airspace opacities, often with nodular appearance, were the most common findings among patients with severeinfluenza A/H1N1 2009. The course of radiologic findings was similar in patients with severe influenza A/H1N1 2009 whosurvived and those who died.

July 2011
N. Sharon, R. Talnir, O. Lavid, U. Rubinstein, M. Niven, Y. First, A.J.I. Tsivion and Y. Schachter
Background: Pandemic influenza A2/H1N1 carries a relatively high morbidity, particularly in young people. Early identification would enable prompt initiation of therapy, thereby improving outcomes.
Objective: To describe the epidemiological, clinical and laboratory characteristics of children admitted to hospital with the clinical diagnosis of influenza with reference to pandemic influenza A/H1N1.
Methods: We conducted a prospective study of all children aged 16 years or less admitted to the pediatric department with the clinical diagnosis of influenza-like illness from July to October 2009. The presence of A/H1N1 virus was confirmed using real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain (RT-PCR) analysis of nasopharyngeal secretions. Positive cases were compared with negative cases concerning epidemiological data, risk factors, clinical presentation and laboratory parameters, with emphasis on changes in the differential blood count.
Results: Of the 106 study patients, 53 were positive to influenza A/H1N1 and 53 were negative. In both groups nearly all patients had fever at presentation and approximately two-thirds had both fever and cough. All patients had a mild clinical course, no patient needed to be admitted to the intensive care unit and no mortalities were recorded. Hyperactive airway disease was more common in the A/H1N1-positive group. Pneumonia occurred in 30% of children in both groups. Laboratory findings included early lymphopenia and later neutropenia in the A/H1N1-infected patients.
Conclusions: Leukopenia consisting of lymphopenia and later neutropenia was common in patients with A/H1N1 infection but was not correlated with disease severity or clinical course, which were similar in both groups. However, reduced leukocyte count can be used as an additional criterion for diagnosing A/H1N1 infection until RT-PCR results are available.
June 2011
Z.H. Abramson, O. Avni, O. Levi and I.N. Miskin

Background: Influenza vaccination of community-dwelling elderly is widely recommended. Observational studies have shown a strong association between physicians' personal vaccination status and their reported level of recommendation to patients and possibly their patients' actual vaccination. No published trials have examined whether increasing vaccination rates of primary care staff raises vaccination among their patients. Proof of a positive effect would support the notion that vaccinating health care workers benefits their patients.

Objectives: To examine whether an intervention to increase staff vaccination also increases vaccination of their patients aged 65 and over.

Methods: A trial examining an intervention aiming to raise staff immunization rates was performed in primary care community clinics in the Jerusalem area. The study population comprised the staff of 13 randomly chosen intervention clinics during the season of 2007–2008, with another 14 clinics serving as controls. The intervention resulted in a staff vaccination rate of 52.8% compared to 26.5% in the control clinics (66.1% and 32.2% among physicians). No intervention was directed at the patients. Data on patient vaccination and other patient characteristics were extracted from the health funds’ computerized databases.

Results: The percentage of patients vaccinated during the intervention season was 57.8% in both intervention and control groups, reflecting an increase of 14.4% compared to the previous season in the intervention clinics and of 13.4% in the control clinics. Logistic regression demonstrated a statistically significant association between intervention and patient vaccination with an odds ratio of 1.10 (95% confidence interval 1.03–1.18). However, analysis adjusting for clustering did not show a significant association.

Conclusions: Increasing influenza vaccination of the medical staff did not substantially increase patient vaccination. These results do not show any patient benefit from staff vaccination in primary care.

October 2010
August 2010
A. Leiba, N. Dreiman, G. Weiss, B. Adini and Y. Bar-Dayan

Background: The growing numbers of H1N1 "swine influenza" cases should prompt national health systems to achieve dual preparedness: preparedness of clinicians to recognize and treat cases of human H1N1 flu, and national preparedness for an influenza pandemic. This is similar to recent contingency planning for an avian flu pandemic.

Objectives: To evaluate hospital personnel's knowledge on avian flu (zoonotic, sporadic, pandemic), comparing among nurses, residents and faculty, and between those who attended lectures or other educational modalities targeted at avian flu and those who did not.

Methods: A 14 item multiple choice questionnaire was designed to test crucial points regarding preparedness for human avian flu. The directors of 26 general hospitals were instructed by the Ministry of Health to improve knowledge of and preparedness for different avian flu scenarios, and to expect an official inspection. As part of this inspection, we distributed the questionnaires to nurses, residents and senior physicians.

Results: Altogether, 589 questionnaires were collected from the 26 hospitals. Examinees who participated in training modules (course, lecture or any training provided by the hospital) did somewhat better (scoring 78 points out of 100) than those who did not attend the training (70 points) (P < 0.05). Differences in nurses’ knowledge were even more striking: 66 points for the non-attendants compared to 79 for nurses who attended the lecture (P < 0.05).  Residents had significantly lower scores compared to nurses or senior physicians: 70 compared to 77 and 78 respectively (P < 0.05).

July 2010
June 2010
J. Dubnov, W. Kassabri, B. Bisharat and S. Rishpon

Background: Health care workers bear the risk of both contracting influenza from patients and transmitting it to them. Although influenza vaccine is the most effective and safest public health measure against influenza and its complications, and despite recommendations that HCWs[1] should be vaccinated, influenza vaccination coverage among them remains low.

Objectives: To characterize influenza vaccination coverage and its determinants among employees in an Arab hospital in Israel.

Methods: An anonymous, self-administered questionnaire was distributed among employees involved in patient care in the winter of 2004–2005 at Nazareth Hospital in Israel. The questionnaire included items related to health demographic characteristics, health behaviors and attitudes, knowledge and attitude concerning influenza vaccination, and whether the respondent had received the influenza vaccine during the previous winter or any other winter.

Results: The overall rate of questionnaire return was 66%; 256 employees participated in the study. The immunization coverage rate was 16.4%, similar to that reported for other hospitals in Israel. Logistic regression analysis demonstrated a significant association only between influenza vaccination coverage and the presence of chronic illness and influenza vaccination in the past.

Conclusions: Influenza vaccination coverage among Nazareth Hospital health care workers was low. They did not view themselves as different to the general population with regard to vaccination. An intervention program was launched after the study period, aimed at increasing the knowledge on the efficacy and safety of the vaccine, stressing the importance of vaccinating HCWs, and administering the vaccine at the workplace. The program raised the vaccination coverage to 50%.

[1] HCWs = health care workers

March 2007
A. Brautbar, Y. Esyag, G.S Breuer, Y. Wiener-Well and G. Nesher

The human papillomavirus family of viruses causes a variety of benign, premalignant and malignant lesions in men and women. All cervical cancers are caused by HPV[1]. It is the leading cause of death from cancer in women in developing countries; every year some 493,000 women develop cervical cancer and 230,000 women die every year of this disease. The vaccine against HPV includes virus-like particles, composed of the major viral capsid protein of HPV without the carcinogenic genetic core. Large-scale studies have shown that the vaccine is tolerated well, leads to high antibody levels in both men and women, and prevents chronic HPV infection and its associated diseases. To achieve effective coverage the vaccine should be given prior to sexual debut. Introduction of the vaccine into specific countries, particularly Israel, should take into account the local incidence of cervical cancer as well as the increasing incidence of precancerous cervical lesions and genital warts, which reduce quality of life and are associated with considerable costs.



[1] HPV = human papillomavirus

January 2007
Z. Kaufman, W-K. Wong, T. Peled-Leviatan, E. Cohen, C. Lavy, G. Aharonowitz, R. Dichtiar, M. Bromberg, O. Havkin, E. Kokia and M.S. Green

Background: Syndromic surveillance systems have been developed for early detection of bioterrorist attacks, but few validation studies exist for these systems and their efficacy has been questioned.

Objectives: To assess the capabilities of a syndromic surveillance system based on community clinics in conjunction with the WSARE[1] algorithm in identifying early signals of a localized unusual influenza outbreak.

Methods: This retrospective study used data on a documented influenza B outbreak in an elementary school in central Israel. The WSARE algorithm for anomalous pattern detection was applied to individual records of daily patient visits to clinics of one of the four health management organizations in the country.

Results: Two successive significant anomalies were detected in the HMO’s[2] data set that could signal the influenza outbreak. If data were available for analysis in real time, the first anomaly could be detected on day 3 of the outbreak, 1 day after the school principal reported the outbreak to the public health authorities.

Conclusions: Early detection is difficult in this type of fast-developing institutionalized outbreak. However, the information derived from WSARE could help define the outbreak in terms of time, place and the population at risk.

[1] WSARE = What’s Strange About Recent Events

[2] HMO = health management organization

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