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עמוד בית
Wed, 07.06.23

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June 2013
E.D. Amster, S.S. Fertig, U. Baharal, S. Linn, M.S. Green, Z. Lencovsky and R.S. Carel
 Background: From 2 to 5 December 2010, Israel experienced the most severe forest fire in its history, resulting in the deaths of 44 rescue workers. Little research exists on the health risks to emergency responders during forest fires, and there is no published research to date on occupational health among firefighters in Israel.

Objectives: To describe the exposures experienced by emergency responders to smoke, fire retardants and stress; the utilization of protective equipment; and the frequency of corresponding symptoms during and following the Carmel Forest fire.

Methods: A cohort of 204 firefighters and 68 police who took part in rescue and fire-abating activities during the Carmel Forest fire were recruited from a representative sample of participating stations throughout the country and interviewed regarding their activities during the fire and their coinciding symptoms. Unpaired two-sample t-test compared mean exposures and symptom frequency for firefighters and police. Chi-square estimates of OR and 95% CI are provided for odds of reporting symptoms, incurring injury or being hospitalized for various risk factors.

Results: Of the study participants, 87% reported having at least one symptom during rescue work at the Carmel Forest fire, with eye irritation (77%) and fatigue (71%) being the most common. Occupational stress was extremely high during the fire; the average length of time working without rest was 18.4 hours among firefighters.

Conclusions: Firefighters and police were exposed to smoke and occupational stress for prolonged periods during the fire. Further research is needed on the residual health effects from exposure to forest fires among emergency responders, and to identify areas for improvement in health preparedness.  

April 2007
M. Garty, A. Shotan, S. Gottlieb, M. Mittelman, A. Porath, B.S. Lewis, E. Grossman, S. Behar, J. Leor, M. S. Green, R. Zimlichman and A. Caspi

Background: Despite improved management of heart failure patients, their prognosis remains poor.

Objectives: To characterize hospitalized HF[1] patients and to identify factors that may affect their short and long-term outcome in a national prospective survey.

Methods: We recorded stages B-D according to the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association definition of HF patients hospitalized in internal medicine and cardiology departments in all 25 public hospitals in Israel.

Results: During March-April 2003, 4102 consecutive patients were recorded. Their mean age was 73 ± 12 years and 57% were males; 75.3% were hypertensive, 50% diabetic and 59% dyslipidemic; 82% had coronary artery disease, 33% atrial fibrillation, 41% renal failure (creatinine ³ 1.5 mg/dl), and 49% anemia (hemoglobin £ 12 g/dl). Mortality rates were 4.7% in-hospital, 7.6% at 30 days, 18.7% at 6 months and 28.1% at 12 months. Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that increased 1 year mortality rate was associated with New York Heart Association III–IV (odds ratio 2.07, 95% confidence interval 1.78–2.41), age (for 10 year increment) (OR[2] 1.41, 95% CI[3] 1.31–1.52), renal failure (1.79, 1.53–2.09), anemia (1.50, 1.29–1.75), stroke (1.50, 1.21–1.85), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (1.25, 1.04–1.50) and atrial fibrillation (1.20, 1.02–1.40).

Conclusions: This nationwide heart failure survey indicates a high risk of long-term mortality and the urgent need for the development of more effective management strategies for patients with heart failure discharged from hospitals.


[1] HF = heart failure

[2] OR = odds ratio

[3] CI = confidence interval

N. Lipovetzky, H. Hod, A. Roth, Y. Kishon, S. Sclarovsky and M. S. Green

Background: Previous studies found some factors such as physical exertion, anger and heavy meals to be triggers for acute coronary syndrome.

Objectives: To estimate the relative risk of an ACS[1] episode associated with positive and negative emotional experiences and anger as potential work-related triggers.

Methods: A total of 209 consecutive patients were interviewed a median of 2 days after a cardiac event that occurred at work or up to 2 hours later. The case-crossover design was used. Positive and negative emotional experiences and anger episodes in the hours immediately before the onset of ACS were compared with episodes in the comparable hours during the previous workday. For anger the episodes were compared with the usual frequency at work during the previous year. Positive and negative emotional experiences were assessed by the PANAS questionnaire (Positive and Negative Affect Scale), and anger by the Onset Anger Scale.

Results: The relative risks of an acute coronary event during the first hour after exposure to negative and positive emotional experiences were RR[2] = 14.0 (95% confidence interval 1.8–106.5) and RR = 3.50 (95% CI[3], 0.7–16.8) respectively and RR = 9.0 (95% CI, 1.1–71) for an episode of anger. Using conditional logistic regression analysis, the highest relative risk was associated with negative emotional experiences.

Conclusions: Negative emotional experiences and anger at work can trigger the onset of an ACS episode. This could have implications for recognizing a cardiac event as a work accident. The implementation of stress-reduction programs in the workplace or use of preventive medications in workers at high risk for coronary heart disease should be investigated.

[1] ACS = acute coronary syndrome

[2] RR = relative risk

[3] CI = confidence interval

March 2007
A. Farfel, M.S. Green, T. Shochat, I. Noyman, Y. Levy and A. Afek

Background: Most Israeli males aged 16–17 undergo a thorough medical examination prior to recruitment into the army. During the last 50 years, extensive data have been gathered enabling a study of time trends in the prevalence of common diseases in this age group.

Objectives: To examine the current prevalence of common diseases, compare the results with those of previous cohorts, and assess the influence of the massive immigration during the 1990s.         

Methods: The health examination at the recruitment centers includes a medical history, complete physical examination, and review of medical documentation provided by the family physician. If needed, additional tests and referral to specialists are ordered. The prevalence of selected diseases and severity was drawn from the computerized database of the classification board. Two cohorts, 1992–94 and 2003–04, were examined and compared with three previous cohort studies in 1957–61, 1977–78 and 1982–84. Data were stratified according to origin and country of birth.

Results: The prevalence of asthma increased dramatically during the years from 10.2 per 1000 examinees in 1957–61 to 111.6 per 1000 examinees in 2003–04. The prevalence of tuberculosis declined and then increased from 0.6 per 1000 adolescents in 1982–84 to 2.4 per 1000 adolescents in 2003–04. The prevalence of type 1 diabetes mellitus increased from 0.2 cases per 1000 examinees in 1957–61 to 0.8 cases in 1977–78 and 1982–84 and 0.9 cases per 1000 examinees in 2003–04. The prevalence of severe heart defects and severe epilepsy declined in the last 20 years (1.4 and 1.7 cases per 1000 examinees in the 1982–84 cohort to 0.4 and 0.3 cases per 1000 examinees in the 2003–4 cohort respectively). The patterns of disease prevalence were different for immigrants: tuberculosis was more common while asthma and allergic rhinitis were less prevalent.

Conclusions: The prevalence of common diseases among adolescents in Israel has changed over the last 50 years. There is a different pattern for immigrants and for those born in Israel.


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

September 2006
D. Nitzan Kaluski, E. Barak, Z. Kaufman, L. Valinsky, E. Marva, Z. Korenman, Z. Gorodnitzki, R. Yishai, D. Koltai, A. Leventhal, S. Levine, O. Havkin and M.S. Green

Contamination of food with streptococci could present with unusual outbreaks that may be difficult to recognize in the early stages. This is demonstrated in a large food-borne outbreak of streptococcal pharyngitis that occurred in 2003 in a factory in Israel. The outbreak was reported to the public health services on July 2 and an epidemiologic investigation was initiated. Cases and controls were interviewed and throat swabs taken. An estimated 212 cases occurred within the first 4 days, the peak occurring on the second day. There was a wave of secondary cases during an additional 11 days. The early signs were of a respiratory illness including sore throat, weakness and fever, with high absenteeism rates suggesting a respiratory illness. As part of a case-control study, cases and controls were interviewed and throat swabs taken. Illness was significantly associated with consumption of egg-mayonnaise salad (odds ratio 4.2, 95% confidence interval 1.4–12.6), suggesting an incubation period of 12–96 hours. The initial respiratory signs of food-borne streptococcal pharyngitis outbreaks could delay the identification of the vehicle of transmission. This could be particularly problematic in the event of deliberate contamination.

August 2006
Z. Kaufman, G. Aharonowitz, R. Dichtiar and M.S. Green
Background: Early clinical signs of influenza caused by a pandemic strain will presumably not differ significantly from those caused by other respiratory viruses. Similarly, early signs of diseases that may result from bioterrorism are frequently non-specific and resemble those of influenza-like illness. Since the time window for effective intervention is narrow, treatment may need to be initiated prior to a definitive diagnosis. Consequently, planning of medications, manpower and facilities should also account for those who would be treated for an unrelated acute illness.

Objectives: To estimate usual patterns of acute illness in the community as a baseline for integration into pandemic influenza and bioterrorism preparedness plans.

Methods: Between 2000 and 2003 we conducted 13 telephone surveys to estimate the usual incidence and prevalence of symptoms of acute illness in the community.

Results: On average, 910 households were included in each of the surveys, representing about 3000 people. The compliance rates for full interviews ranged from 72.3% to 86.0%. In winter, on average, about 2% of the Israeli population (individuals) suffered each day from fever of ≥ 38ºC, and about 0.8% during the other months. The prevalence of cough was higher, 9.2% in winter and 3% during summer. Daily incidence of fever ranged from about 0.4% per day in winter to about 0.2% in the fall. The prevalence and incidence of both fever and cough were highest for infants followed by children aged 1–5 years.

Conclusions: These background morbidity estimates can be used for planning the overall treatment requirements, in addition to actual cases, resulting from pandemic influenza or a bioterrorist incident.

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%.

December 2004
N. Lipovetzky, H. Hod, A. Roth, Y. Kishon, S. Sclarovsky and M.S. Green

Background: Food intake has an immediate effect on the cardiovascular system. However, the effect of a large meal as an immediate trigger for the acute coronary syndrome has not been assessed.

Objectives: To assess the relative risk for an ACS[1] within a few hours after the ingestion of a heavy meal.

Methods: In a case-crossover study 209 patients were interviewed a median of 2 days after an ACS. Ingestion of a large meal in the few hours immediately before the onset of ACS was compared with the comparable few hours the day before and with the usual frequency of large meals over the past year. Large meals were assessed by a 5 level scale.

Results: The relative risk of an acute coronary event during the first hour after a heavy meal ingestion was RR[2] = 7 (95% confidence interval 0.75–65.8) when the day before the ACS served as the control data and RR = 4 (95% CI[3] 1.9–8.6) when the usual frequency of heavy meals ingestion during the previous year served as the control data. 

Conclusions: The ingestion of heavy meals can trigger the onset of an ACS. Education of the population to avoid heavy meals, especially in people at high risk for coronary heart disease, should be included in the prevention of ACS. Research on specific nutrients that may act as potential triggers for ACS should be considered.

[1] ACS = acute coronary syndrome

[2] RR = relative risk

[3] CI = confidence interval

July 2004
J. Tarabeia, Y. Amitai, M. Green, G.J. Halpern, S. Blau, A. Ifrah, N. Rotem and L. Jaber

Background: The infant mortality rate is a health status indicator.

Objectives: To analyze the differences in infant mortality rates between Jews and Arabs in Israel between 1975 and 2000.

Methods: Data were used from the Central Bureau of Statistics and the Department of Mother, Child and Adolescent Health in the Ministry of Health.

Results: The IMR[1] in 2000 was 8.6 per 1,000 live births in the Israeli Arab population as compared to 4.0 in the Jewish population. Between 1970 and 2000 the IMR decreased by 78% among Moslems, 82% among Druze, and 88% among Christians, as compared to 79% in the Jewish population. In 2000, in the Arab population, 40% of all infant deaths were caused by congenital malformations and 29% by prematurity, compared to 23% and 53%, respectively, in the Jewish population. Between 1970 and 2000 the rate of congenital malformations declined in both the Arab and Jewish populations. In the 1970s the rate was 1.4 times higher in the Arab community than in the Jewish community, and in 2000 it was 3.7 times higher.

Conclusion: As in the Jewish population, the IMR in the Arab community has decreased over the years, although it is still much higher than that in the Jewish community. Much remains to be done to reduce the incidence of congenital malformations among Arabs, since this is the main cause of the high IMR in this population.

[1] IMR = infant mortality rate

October 2003
M. Boaz, S. Smetana, Z. Matas, A. Bor, I. Pinchuk, M. Fainaru, M.S. Green and D. Lichtenberg

Background: In lipid oxidation kinetics studies, prevalent cardiovascular disease has been associated with shortened lag phase, the length of time preceding the onset of oxidation.

Objectives: To examine, in vitro, copper-induced lipid oxidation kinetics in unfractionated serum from hemodialysis patients and to determine differences in kinetic parameters between patients with and without a history of CVD[1].

Methods: Of the 76 patients enrolled in a study of oxidative stress in hemodialysis (44/76 with prevalent CVD, 53/76 males), 9 males with a history of myocardial infarction were selected and matched for age, diabetes and smoking status with 9 males from the non-CVD group. The kinetics of lipid oxidation was studied. Blood chemistry determinations including serum lipids, lipoproteins, hemostatic factors and serum malondialdehyde were obtained. Variables were compared using the t-test for independent samples with history of MI[2] entered as the categorical variable.

Results: Tmax, the oxidation kinetic parameter defined as the time at which the rate of absorbing product accumulation was maximal, was significantly shorter in dialysis patients with a history of MI than in those without (115.2 ± 38.5 vs. 162.7 ± 48.9 minutes, P = 0.04). Further, Tmax and MDA[3] were negatively correlated to one another (r = -0.47, P = 0.04). Odds ratios indicate that each 1 minute increase in Tmax was associated with a 3% decrease in odds that a subject had a history of MI.

Conclusions: These findings indicate the presence of increased oxidative stress in hemodialysis patients with a history of MI.

[1] CVD = cardiovascular disease

[2] MI = myocardial infarction

[3] MDA = malondialdehyde

Y. Shapiro, J. Shemer, A. Heymann, V. Shalev, N. Maharshak, G. Chodik, M.S. Green and E. Kokia

Background: Upper respiratory tract illnesses have been associated with an increased risk of morbidity and mortality.

Objective: To assess the influence of vaccination against influenza on the risk of hospitalization in internal medicine and geriatric wards, and the risk of death from all causes during the 2000–2001 influenza season.

Methods: A historical cohort study was conducted using computerized general practitioner records on patients aged 65 years and above, members of “Maccabi Health Care Services” – the second largest health maintenance organization in Israel with 1.6 million members. The patients were divided into high and low risk groups corresponding to coexisting conditions, and were studied. Administrative and clinical data were used to evaluate outcomes.

Results: Of the 84,613 subjects in the cohort 42.8% were immunized. At baseline, vaccinated subjects were sicker and had higher rates of coexisting conditions than unvaccinated subjects. Vaccination against influenza was associated with a 30% reduction in hospitalization rates and 70% in mortality rates in the high risk group. The NNT (number needed to treat) measured to prevent one hospitalization was 53.2 (28.2 in the high risk group and 100.4 in the low risk group). When referring to length of hospitalization, one vaccine was needed to prevent 1 day of hospitalization among the high risk group. Analyses according to age and the presence or absence of major medical conditions at baseline revealed similar findings across all subgroups.

Conclusions: In the elderly, vaccination against influenza is associated with a reduction in both the total risk of hospitalization and in the risk of death from all causes during the influenza season. These findings compel the rationale to increase compliance with recommendations for annual influenza vaccination among the elderly.

April 2003
S. Behar, A. Battler, A. Porath, J. Leor, E. Grossman, Y. Hasin, M. Mittelman, Z. Feigenberg, C. Rahima-Maoz, M. Green, A. Caspi, B. Rabinowitz and M. Garty

Background: Little information is available on the clinical practice and implementation of guidelines in treating acute myocardial infarction patients in Israel.

Objective: To assess patient characteristics, hospital course, management, and 30 day clinical outcome of all AMI[1] patients hospitalized in Israel during a 2 month period in 2000.

Method: We conducted a prospective 2 month survey of consecutive AMI patients admitted to 82 of 96 internal medicine departments and all 26 cardiac departments operating in Israel in 2000. Data were collected uniformly by means of a hospital and 30 day follow-up form.

Results: During the survey 1,683 consecutive patients with a discharge diagnosis of AMI were included. Their mean age was 66 years; 73% were male. The electrocardiographic pattern on admission revealed ST elevation, non-ST elevation and an undetermined ECG[2] in 63%, 34% and 4% of patients respectively. Aspirin and heparin were given to 95% of patients. Beta-blockers and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors were given to 76% and 65% of patients respectively. Among hospital survivors, 45% received lipid-lowering drugs. Thrombolytic therapy was administered in 28% of patients, coronary angiography was used in 45%, and 7% of patients underwent primary percutaneous coronary intervention. The 7 and 30 day mortality rates were 7% and 11% respectively.

Conclusions: This nationwide survey shows that one-third of the AMI patients in Israel are elderly (≥ 75 years). The survey suggests that clinical guidelines for the management of patients with AMI are partially implemented in the community. Data from large surveys representing the "real world" practice are of utmost importance for the evaluation of clinical guidelines, research and educational purposes.

[1] AMI = acute myocardial infarction

[2] ECG = electrocardiogram

September 2002
Dafna Merom, MPH, Anneke Ifrah, MA, MPH, Irit Cohen-Manheim, MSc, Ayelet Chinich, MA and Manfred S. Green, MD, PhD

Background: Despite the controversy regarding the risks and benefits of hormone replacement therapy, studies in various countries indicate a two- to threefold increase in the use of HRT[1] during the last decade.

Objectives: To estimate the prevalence of HRT use among post-menopausal Jewish women in Israel and to determine the variables predicting current HRT use.

Methods: A cross-sectional telephone survey was conducted in 1998 on a random sample of Jewish women aged 45–74. Of 935 women who were located and eligible, 704 (75%) were interviewed by means of a structured questionnaire.

Results: A total of 589 women (85%) were peri-menopausal or post-menopausal.  Ninety-nine of them (16.8%) were currently using HRT and 78 (13.2%) were past users. Higher rates of current use were found among women who had undergone hysterectomy and/or oophorectomy (38%) than among all other women (13.5%).  Among naturally menopausal women the highest rate of current use (25.6%) was found in those aged 55–59.  A multiple logistic regression showed that the variables associated with current HRT use among naturally menopausal women  were: having a regular gynecologist (odds ratio 3.6, 95% confidence interval 1.7–7.5), visiting a gynecologist during the past year (OR[2] 2.9, 95% CI[3] 1.4–6.0), experiencing symptoms of menopause (OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.01–3.8), having more than a high-school education (OR 1.9, 95% CI 1.04–3.6), and a lower body mass index (OR 0.91, 95% CI 0.85–0.99).

Conclusions: The factors associated with HRT use may be markers for other socioeconomic or psychological characteristics. The disparities noted between population subgroups may be indicative of differences in awareness or in the delivery of preventive healthcare services to women in Israel, and as such need to be addressed by the health system.


[1] HRT = hormone replacement therapy

[2] OR = odds ratio

[3] CI = confidence interval

July 2002
Manfred S. Green, MD, PhD and Zalman Kaufman, MSc

The appearance of “new” infectious diseases, the reemergence of “old” infectious diseases, and the deliberate introduction of infectious diseases through bioterrorism has highlighted the need for improved and innovative infectious disease surveillance systems. A review of publications reveals that traditional current surveillance systems are generally based on the recognition of a clear increase in diagnosed cases before an outbreak can be identified. For early detection of bioterrorist-initiated outbreaks, the sensitivity and timeliness of the systems need to be improved. Systems based on syndromic surveillance are being developed using technologies such as electronic reporting and the internet. The reporting sources include community physicians, public health laboratories, emergency rooms, intensive care units, district health offices, and hospital admission and discharge systems. The acid test of any system will be the ability to provide analyses and interpretations of the data that will serve the goals of the system. Such analytical methods are still in the early stages of development.

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