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עמוד בית
Wed, 24.07.24

Search results

June 2022
Ravit Bassal PhD, Rita Dichtiar MPH, and Lital Keinan-Boker MD

Background: Salmonella, Shigella, and Campylobacter are highly prevalent among children. Reports on risk factors of patients infected with all three pathogens, not simultaneously, are scarce.

Objectives: To identify risk factors for multiple infection with Salmonella, Shigella, and Campylobacter in the same child.

Methods: Using the Israel Sentinel Laboratory-Based Surveillance Network, we conducted a retrospective observational case-case–control study among children aged 0–9 years. A case was defined as a child infected with Salmonella, Shigella, and Campylobacter at different occasions between January 1999 and December 2020. A control was defined as a child infected with a single pathogen once, during the same period. Logistic regression models were applied to determine the association between multiple infections and demographic characteristics.

Results: We identified 109 cases (0.1%) infected with Salmonella, Shigella, and Campylobacter, and 86,511 controls (99.9%) infected with only one bacteria type. In a multivariable analysis, we showed that being Jewish (odds ratio [OR] 2.4, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.3–4.4), having residency in Jerusalem (OR 3.2, 95%CI 1.3–7.7), or in the southern district (OR 3.7, 95%CI 1.5–8.8) were independent risk factors for multiple infection.

Conclusions: Although very rare, non-simultaneous infection with multiple bacteria does occur in Israel. National and local authorities should promote programs to encourage proper hygiene practices, which are culture-adjusted.

April 2022
Michal Bromberg MD MPH, Lital Keinan-Boker MD PhD, Lea Gur-Arie MPH, Hanna Sefty MSc, Michal Mandelboim PhD, Rita Dichtiar MPH, Zalman Kaufman MSc, and Aharona Glatman-Freedman MD MPH

Background: Guidelines for pandemic preparedness emphasize the role of sentinel and syndromic surveillance in monitoring pandemic spread.

Objectives: To examine advantages and obstacles of utilizing a sentinel influenza surveillance system to monitor community severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) activity based on Israel's experience from mid-March to mid-May 2020.

Methods: Several modifications were applied to the influenza surveillance system. The clinical component relied mainly on pneumonia and upper respiratory infection (URI) consultations with primary care physicians as well as visits to emergency departments (ED) due to pneumonia. The virological data were based on nasopharyngeal swabs obtained from symptomatic patients who visited outpatient clinics.

Results: By week 12 of the pandemic, the crude and age-specific primary physician consultation rates due to URI and pneumonia declined below the expected level, reaching nadir that lasted from week 15 until week 20. Similarly, ED visits due to pneumonia were significantly lower than expected from weeks 14 and 15 to week 20. The virological surveillance started on week 13 with 6/253 of the swabs (2.3%) positive for SARS-CoV-2. There was a peak of 13/225 positive swabs on week 145.8%. During weeks 17–20, none of the swabs (47–97 per week) were positive for SARS-CoV-2. This trend was similar to national data.

Conclusions: The virological component of the surveillance system showed the SARS-CoV-2 community spread, but had low sensitivity when virus activity was low. The clinical component, however, had no yield. Sentinel surveillance can assist in monitoring future novel pandemics and should be augmented in revised preparedness plans.

April 2021
Uri Gabbay MD MPH, Doron Carmi MD MHA, Aviva Mimouni-Bloch MD, Bat El Goldstein MD, Lital Keinan-Boker MD MPH, and Joseph Meyerovitch MD

Background: Evaluation of children's anthropometrics poses challenges due to age-related changes. The main focus is on height and weight. However, since weight is height-dependent, body mass index (BMI) is the best surrogate measurement of adiposity. Israel has not developed national growth tables; therefore, researchers and clinicians utilize either World Health Organization (WHO) or U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tables as benchmarks.

Objectives: To evaluate the anthropometrics of Israeli children benchmarked by CDC and WHO tables.

Methods: A retrospective review was conducted of the 1987–2003 birth cohort (age 4–18 years) from Clalit Health Services databases. Anthropometrics were retrieved twice: at study entry and one year later. We evaluated them as separate cohorts. Gender-specific age-matched median height and BMI were compared with CDC and WHO height and BMI tables.

Results: The study consisted of 15,650, mean age at study entry 9.5 years (range 4–18). Gender-specific median heights of the Israeli children were similar to CDC and WHO values at younger ages, but were slightly shorter than the age-matched CDC and WHO toward the age of final height in both cohorts. However, gender-specific median BMI was considerably and statistically significant higher compared to CDC and WHO values consistently along the entire age range in both cohorts.

Conclusions: Israeli children were slightly shorter toward the age of final height, compared to WHO and CDC. However, BMI in Israeli children was significantly higher compared to the CDC and WHO consistently along the age range, which raises an alarm regarding obesity patterns

January 2021
Eden Moore, Barbara G. Silverman MD MPH, Yehudit Fishler, Etty Ben-Adiva MPH, Olga Davidov MBA, Rita Dichtiar MPH, Hila Edri, Miriam Zatlawi MPH, and Lital Keinan-Boker MD PhD MPH

Background: The Israel National Cancer Registry (INCR) was established in 1960. Reporting has been mandatory since 1982. All neoplasms of uncertain/unknown behavior, in situ and invasive malignancies (excluding basal and squamous cell carcinomas of the skin), and benign neoplasms of the brain and central nervous system (CNS) are reportable.

Objectives: To assess completeness and timeliness of the INCR for cases diagnosed or treated in 2005.

Methods: Abstractors identified cases of in situ and invasive malignancies and tumors of benign and uncertain behavior of the brain and CNS diagnosed or treated in 2005 in the files of medical records departments, pathology and cytology laboratories, and oncology and hematology institutes in 39 Israeli medical facilities. Cases were linked to the INCR database by national identity number. Duplicate cases, and those found to be non-reportable were excluded from analysis. Completeness was calculated as the percent of reportable cases identified by the survey that were present in the registry. Timeliness was calculated as the percent of reportable cases diagnosed in 2005, which were incorporated into the registry prior to 31 December 2007.

Results: The INCR’s completeness is estimated at 93.7% for all reportable diseases, 96.8% for invasive solid tumors, and 88.0% for hematopoietic tumors. Incident cases for the calendar year 2005 were less likely to be present in the registry database than those diagnosed prior to 2005.

Conclusions: Completeness and timeliness of the INCR are high and meet international guidelines. Fully automated reporting will likely improve the quality and timeliness of INCR data.

April 2017
Eliezer Robinson MD, Barbara G. Silverman MD MPH and Lital Keinan-Boker MD PhD MPH

Background: The number of cancer survivors has been increasing worldwide and is now approximately 32.6 million and growing. Cancer survivors present a challenge to health care providers because of their higher susceptibility to long-term health outcomes related to their primary disease and treatment.

Objective: To report on the number of cancer survivors and incident cancer cases in the period 1960–2009 in Israel, in order to provide data on the scope of the challenge Israel’s health care funds face.

Methods: The Israel National Cancer Registry (INCR) database was used to identify new cancer cases diagnosed during the period 1960–2009. Lifetable analysis was used to assess changes in cumulative survival and population prevalence of cancer survivors throughout the 50 year study period.

Results: Almost 600,000 invasive cancer cases were diagnosed during the period 1960–2009 (overall absolute survival rate 54%). Within this time period, the number of new patients diagnosed with cancer increased fivefold and that of cancer survivors ninefold. The absolute survival of cancer patients and the prevalence of cancer survivors in the general population significantly increased with time from 34% and 0.5%, respectively (1960–1969), to 62% and 1.9%, respectively (2000–2009). Cumulative absolute survival for 5, 10 and 15 years following diagnosis increased with time as well.

Conclusions: The INCR database is useful to assess progress in the war against cancer. The growing numbers of cancer survivors in Israel present a challenge to the national health and social services system.

August 2016
Ron Lavy MD, Yehuda Hershkovitz MD, Lital Keinan-Boker MD and Ariel Halevy MD

Background: Gastrointestinal malignancies comprise a broad spectrum of neoplasms and have a high overall incidence. The incidence rates in Israel vary among ethnic groups due to different risk factors.

Objectives: To investigate incidence trends of these cancers in Israel in both Jewish and Arab ethnic groups in order to better understand the risks in those groups.

Methods: This study is based on data published by the Israel National Cancer Registry and the Central Bureau of Statistics. We compared statistics between ethnicities and genders. We examined the eight most common gastrointestinal cancers, focusing on colon, rectal and gastric cancers.

Results: Between 1980 and 2012 there was a decline in the incidence of gastric cancer in the Jewish population; in contrast, a significant increase occurred in Arab women, but there was no significant change in Arab men. Colon cancer showed a relative decrease in incidence in the Jewish population, but an increase in the Arab population. A decrease in the incidence of rectal cancer in the Jewish population and an increase in the Arab population was observed. 

Conclusions: Gastric, colon and rectal cancers exhibit differences in incidence and outcome between Jewish and Arab populations in Israel. These differences were not observed in the other five types of less common gastrointestinal cancers.


April 2015
Lital Keinan-Boker MD PhD MPH, Hadas Shasha-Lavsky MD, Sofia Eilat-Zanani MD, Adi Edri-Shur MSc and Shaul M. Shasha MD


Background: Findings of studies addressing outcomes of war-related famine in non-Jewish populations in Europe during the Second World War (WWII) confirmed an association between prenatal/early life exposure to hunger and adult obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular heart disease and the metabolic syndrome. Fetal programming was suggested as the explanatory mechanism.

Objectives: To study the association between being born during WWII in Europe and physical long-term outcomes in child Holocaust survivors.   

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study on all Jewish Clalit Health Services (CHS) North District members born in 1940–1945 in Europe ('exposed', n=653) or in Israel to Europe-born parents ('non-exposed', n=433). Data on socio-demographic variables, medical diagnoses, medication procurement, laboratory tests and health services utilization were derived from the CHS computerized database and compared between the groups.

Results: The exposed were significantly more likely than the non-exposed to present with dyslipidemia (81% vs. 72%, respectively), hypertension (67% vs. 53%), diabetes mellitus (41% vs. 28%), vascular disease (18% vs. 9%) and the metabolic syndrome (17% vs. 9%). The exposed also made lower use of health services but used anti-depressive agents more often compared to the non-exposed. In multivariate analyses, being born during WWII remained an independent risk marker for hypertension (OR = 1.52), diabetes mellitus (OR = 1.60), vascular disease (OR = 1.99) and the metabolic syndrome (OR = 2.14).

Conclusions: The results of this cross-sectional study based on highly validated data identify a high risk group for chronic morbidity. A question regarding potential trans-generational effects that may impact the ‘second generation’ is also raised.

April 2014
Eyal Bercovich MD, Lital Keinan-Boker MD PhD and Shaul M. Shasha MD
 Background: Previous studies suggest that exposure to starvation and stress between conception and early infancy may have deleterious effects on health later in life; this phenomenon is termed fetal origin of adult disease.

Objectives: To determine whether exposure to the Holocaust from preconception to early infancy is a cause of chronic morbidity in adulthood.

Methods: This pilot study involved 70 European Jews born in countries under Nazi rule (exposed group) during the period 1940–1945 who were interviewed to determine the presence of chronic diseases. A control group of 230 Israeli-born individuals of the same descent, age, and gender distribution were extracted from the Israel National Health Interview Survey-2 (unexposed group). The prevalence of selected risk factors and chronic diseases was compared between the groups.

Results: The prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors and morbidity was significantly higher in the exposed group: body mass index (BMI) (29.06 ± 3.2 vs. 26.97 ± 4.42, P = 0.015), hypertension (62.9% vs. 43%, P = 0.003), dyslipidemia (72.9% vs. 46.1%, P < 0.001), diabetes (32.9% vs. 17.4%, P = 0.006), angina pectoris (18.6% vs. 4.8%, P = 0.001) and congestive heart failure (8.6% vs. 1.7%, P = 0.013). The prevalence of cancer (30.0% vs. 8.7% P < 0.001), peptic ulcer disease (21.4% vs. 7%, P = 0.001), headaches/migraines (24.3% vs. 12.6%, P < 0.001) and anxiety/depression (50.0% vs. 8.3%, P < 0.001) was also higher in the exposed group.

Conclusions: These results suggest that exposure to Holocaust conditions in early life may be associated with a higher prevalence of obesity, dyslipidemia, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular morbidity, malignancy and peptic diseases in adulthood. These findings set the stage for further research, which might define those exposed as a high risk group for chronic morbidity.

December 2010
O. Baron-Epel, L. Keinan-Boker, R. Weinstein and T. Shohat

Background: During the last few decades much effort has been invested into lowering smoking rates due to its heavy burden on the population's health and on costs for the health care services.

Objectives: To compare trends in smoking rates between adult Arab men and Jewish men and women during 2000–2008.

Methods: Six random telephone surveys were conducted by the Israel Center for Disease Control in 2000–2008 to investigate smoking rates. The number of respondents was 24,976 Jews men and women and 2564 Arab men. The percent of respondents reporting being current smokers was calculated for each population group (Jews and Arabs) by age, gender and education, and were studied in relation to time.

Results: Among Jewish men aged 21–64 smoking declined during 2000–2008 by about 3.5%. In the 21–44 age group this decline occurred only among respondents with an academic education. Among Jewish women this decline also occurred at ages 21–64, and in the 45–64 age group this decline was due only to a decline in smoking among those with an academic education. Among Arab men aged 21–64 an increase in smoking rates of about 6.5% was observed among both educated and less educated respondents.

Conclusions: Smoking prevalence is declining in Israel among Jews, but not among Arab men. The larger decrease in smoking rates among academics will, in the future, add to the inequalities in health between the lower and higher socioeconomic status groups and between Arabs and Jews. This calls for tailored interventions among the less educated Jews and all Arab men.

October 2008
L. Keinan-Boker, L. Lerner-Geva, B. Kaufman and D. Meirow

The frequency of pregnancy-associated breast cancer, a rare but serious occurrence, may increase in light of the secular trends for lower parity in general and for an older age at first full-term delivery in particular. Data on PABC[1] in individuals who are at high risk for breast cancer are limited. A computerized search of PUBMED showed that the reported incidence of PABC is 1:3000 pregnancies; it is often diagnosed at an advanced stage and its prognosis is inferior compared to non-PABC. Carriers of mutations in the genes BRCA1/2 may present a specific high risk group for PABC especially at younger ages. Women treated with fertility treatment drugs may be at a higher risk for PABC as well.  

[1] PABC = pregnancy-associated breast cancer

April 2005
L. Keinan-Boker, N. Noyman, A. Chinich, M.S. Green and D. Nitzan-Kaluski
Background: The prevalence of obesity has increased considerably in many countries in recent decades.

Objective: To describe the prevalence of overweight and obesity in the Israeli population, based on findings of the first national health and nutrition survey (MABAT).

Methods: This cross-sectional survey was carried out during 1999–2000. MABAT is based on a representative sample (n=3,246) of the general Israeli population aged 25–64 years. The current study population comprised those with complete data on measured weight and height (n=2,781). Participants were interviewed in person and had their weight and height measured by the interviewer.

Results: Over 50% of the study participants were women (n=1,410); 76% were Jews and 24% Arabs. Most participants had an education of at least 12 years (72%). Body mass index ≥30.0 was more prevalent in women compared to men (P < 0.001) in both population groups (Jews and Arabs). Obesity rates increased with age and reached 22.4% for men and 40.4% for women aged 55–64 years. Lower education was associated with higher obesity rates, with lowest rates observed for Jewish women with an academic education (13.6%) and highest rates observed for Arab women with a basic education (57.3%). Multiple logistic regression analyses showed age to be a significant risk factor in men. Age, education and origin (Arab, and the former Soviet Union for Jews) were significant risk factors for obesity in women.

Conclusions: Obesity rates in Israel are high and comparable to those in the United States. Of special concern is the subgroup of older Arab women (55–64 years), whose obesity rates reached 70%.

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