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עמוד בית
Sun, 03.03.24

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September 2022
Gil A. Geva MD, Maya Nitecki MD, Itay Ketko MSc, Itay Toledo BSc, Sagi A. Shpitzer MD, Avi Benov MD MHA, Noam Fink MD, and Ariel Furer MD MBA

Background: To mitigate the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), national guidelines, in accordance with international health authorities, mandated 14 days of quarantine for every close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 patient. Although health benefits are obvious, consequences are profound, especially for organizations required to maintain operational preparedness.

Objectives: To present the Israel Defense Force (IDF) experience with outbreaks regarding quarantined individuals. To weigh the consequences of quarantined individuals needed for workforce and operation.

Methods: All positive COVID-19 cases in the IDF, as measured by a positive rRT-PCR test result, between 29 February and 18 May 2020 were evaluated. Numbers of positive individuals, quarantined individuals, and confirmatory exams conducted were collected. We compared the events in four units with the largest outbreaks and assessed the impact of confirmed cases, tests conducted, and workforce loss due to quarantine.

Results: Of the 187 soldiers who tested positive for COVID-19, source of infection was traced to 140 soldiers (75%). Almost no medical treatment was delivered, and hospitalization was rare. We found a median of 15.2% (interquartile range 5.3–34) for decline in unit workforce due to quarantine measures. Maximum reduction reached 47% of the workforce in one unit.

Conclusions: Despite a relatively small number of confirmed cases, units underwent a substantial change in mode of operation due to the toll of quarantined individuals. In certain populations and organizations, perhaps a more liberal application of isolation and contact tracing is suitable due to the heavy economic burden and consequences in term of operational readiness.

Omri Shental MD MHA, Ilan Y. Mitchnik MD, Edward Barayev MD MHA, Lior Solomon MD, Liron Gershovitz MD, Shaul Gelikas MD MBA, Avi Benov MD MHA, and Yuval Ran MD MHA MPA

Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) led to two nationwide lockdowns in Israel, reducing both supply and demand for medical services in the Israel Defense Force (IDF). IDF soldiers serve on bases within Israel, and most of them return home at the end of the day, similar to other armies in the world.

Objectives: To analyze the health services provided by the IDF with regard to policy changes during lockdowns.

Methods: We compared medical encounters between different services provided by the IDF Medical Corps. We related them to specific time periods: pre-first lockdown, first lockdown (and corresponding timeframes of the previous 3 years), between lockdowns, second lockdown, and post-second lockdown.

Results: Compared to past periods, we found a similar reduction of 27–30% in primary care medical encounter rates during the two lockdowns: 42–43% in sick days and 50–54% in referrals to the emergency department. Referral rates to all specialist medical encounters and elective surgeries decreased significantly during the first lockdown period and increased 1.2–3.5 times during the second lockdown.

Conclusions: A continuance of the shift to telehealth is required to withstand a future lockdown, with a full supply of secondary medical services attuned to core medical issues relevant for combat personnel. A liberal sick leave policy is required to eliminate unnecessary in-person visits, thus reducing the risk of infection.

May 2022
Yehuda Hershkovitz MD, Oded Zmora MD, Hilli Nativ MD, Itamar Ashkenazi MD, Jonathan Hammerschlag MD, and Igor Jeroukhimov MD

Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has had a significant impact on healthcare systems worldwide. The fear of seeking medical attention to avoid the possibility of being infected may have altered the course of some diseases.

Objectives: To describe our experience with the management of patients with acute cholecystitis during the pandemic at our medical center.

Methods: We compared patients treated for acute cholecystitis between 1 March and 31 August 2020 (Group I) to patients admitted with the same diagnosis during the same months in 2019 (Group II). We evaluated demographics, presenting symptoms, laboratory and imaging findings at presentation, the disease's clinical course, management, and outcome.

Results: Group I consisted of 101 patients and group II included 94 patients. No differences were noted for age (66 years, IQR 48–78 vs. 66 years, IQR 47–76; P = 0.50) and sex (57.4% vs. 51.1% females; P = 0.39) between the two groups. The delay between symptom onset and hospital admission was longer for Group I patients (3 days, IQR 2–7 vs. 2 days, IQR 1–3; P = 0.002). Moderate to severe disease was more commonly encountered in Group I (59.4% vs. 37.2%, P = 0.003). Group I patients more often failed conservative management (36% vs. 6%, P = 0.001) and had a higher conversion rate to open surgery (15.4% vs. 0%, P = 0.025).

Conclusions: Patients presenting with acute cholecystitis during the COVID-19 pandemic more often presented late to the emergency department and more showed adverse outcomes

February 2021
Mordehay Cordoba MD, Roi Anteby MD, Yaniv Zager MD, Yiftach Barash MD, Eyal Klang MD, Roy Nadler MD, Imri Amiel MD, Mordechai Gutman MD FACS, Nir Horesh MD, Nimrod Aviran MD, and Yoram Klein MD

Background: The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic changed medical environments worldwide.

Objectives: To evaluate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on trauma-related visits to the emergency department (ED).

Methods: A single tertiary center retrospective study was conducted that compared ED attendance of patients with injury-related morbidity between March 2020 (COVID-19 outbreak) and pre-COVID-19 periods: February 2020 and the same 2 months in 2018 and 2019.

Results: Overall, 6513 patients were included in the study. During the COVID-19 outbreak, the daily number of patients visiting the ED for acute trauma declined by 40% compared to the average in previous months (P < 0.01). A strong negative correlation was found between the number of trauma-related ED visits and the log number of confirmed cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) in Israel (Pearson's r = -0.63, P < 0.01). In the COVID-19 period there was a significant change in the proportion of elderly patients (7% increase, P = 0.002), admissions ratio (12% increase, P < 0.001), and patients brought by emergency medical services (10% increase, P < 0.001). The number of motor vehicle accident related injury declined by 45% (P < 0.01).

Conclusions: A significant reduction in the number of trauma patients presenting to the ED occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, yet trauma-related admissions were on the rise

October 2020
Robert Yanko DMD, Valeri Klitinich DMD, Yaron Haviv DMD PhD, David Gozal MD, Doron J. Aframian DMD PhD and Andra Ratman DMD

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), the pathogen that causes coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19), is thought to be transmitted via droplets and aerosols, and was detected in saliva of infected individuals. These droplets from the upper airway may infect the inhalation sedation mask and tubing. The authors determined the adequate measures needed to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 by nitrous-oxide (N2O) system during inhalation sedation in dentistry and provided evidence on mask and tubing sterilization. Additional measures to protect patients and healthcare workers from COVID-19 that may be transmitted by the inhalation sedation system are discussed. The authors recommend minimal use of a N2O system during inhalation sedation in dentistry. In case of need, the practitioners should have more than one scavenger kit and nasal masks for each N2O/O2 mixer. Biologic barriers should be mounted between the scavenger's tubing and the central evacuation system. Strict cleansing and sterilization should be performed for all parts of the N2O system. The use a disposable scavenger system and nasal mask should be considered as a viable option

 

August 2020
Raanan Meyer MD, Gabriel Levin MD, Natav Hendin BSc and Eldad Katorza MD

Background: Channeling medical resources for coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) management can potentially endanger routine healthcare practices. As a preventive measure, a department of obstetrics and gynecology in Israel constructed a separate, designated complex for its COVID-19-exposed patients.

Objectives: To evaluate the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic infection control measures on obstetric care in the obstetrical emergency department and delivery unit.

Methods: The authors collected data retrospectively from February 2020 to March 2020 and compared it to data of a parallel period in 2019.

Results: From 1 February 2020 to 28 March 2020, 3897 women were referred to the emergency department (ED), compared to 4067 the previous year. Mean duration of treatment until decision and referral indications did not differ between 2020 and 2019 (207 vs. 220 minutes, P = 0.26; urgent referrals 58.8% vs. 59.2%, P = 0.83). A per-week comparison showed a significant reduction in ED referrals only in the last week of the period (337 [2020] vs. 515 [2019], P < 0.001). The proportion of women admitted to the delivery unit in active labor was significantly higher in the last three weeks (39.1% vs. 28.2%, P = 0.005). During February and March 2020, 1666 women delivered, compared to 1654 during February and March 2019. The proportion of types and modes of delivery did not differ. In a per-week comparison, the number of deliveries did not differ (mean 208 vs. 206, P = 0.88).

Conclusions: With timely preparation and proper management, negative impact of COVID-19 can be reduced in obstetrical emergency departments.

August 2018
Yael Shachor-Meyouhas MD, Orna Eluk RN, Yuval Geffen PhD, Irena Ulanovsky MD, Tatiana Smolkin MD, Shraga Blazer MD, Iris Stein RN and Imad Kassis MD

Background: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has emerged as a challenging nosocomial pathogen in the last 50 years.

Objectives: To describe an investigation and containment of an MRSA outbreak in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Methods: Our NICU is a 25-bed level III unit. Almost 540 neonates are admitted yearly. The index case was an 8 day old term baby. MRSA was isolated from his conjunctiva. Immediate infection control measures were instituted, including separation of MRSA+ carriers, strict isolation, separate nursing teams, and screening of all infants for MRSA. Healthcare workers and parents of positive cases were screened and re-educated in infection control measures. New admissions were accepted to a clean room and visiting was restricted. MRSA isolates were collected for molecular testing.

Results: MRSA was isolated from five infants by nasal and rectal swabs, including the index case. Screening of healthcare workers and families was negative. Two MRSA+ patients already known in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) located near the NICU were suspected of being the source. All NICU isolates were identical by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis but were different from the two PICU isolates. The NICU and one of the PICU isolates were defined as ST-5 strain by multilocus sequence typing. One PICU isolate was ST-627. All NICU isolates were Panton–Valentine leukocidin negative and SCCmec type IV. No further cases were detected, and no active infections occurred.

Conclusions: A strict infection control policy and active screening are essential in aborting outbreaks of MRSA in the NICU.

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.

March 2012
T. Brosh-Nissimov, Z. Mor, E. Avramovich, E. Katchman, B. Avidor, O. Mor and D. Turner
Background: Outbreaks of syphilis have been described among men who have sex with men (MSM) in many western urban communities in the last few years.

Objectives: To describe the first reported outbreak of syphilis among MSM in Israel within a decade of a constant increase in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevalence.

Methods: All patients diagnosed with syphilis were contacted and asked about their sexual behavior, substance use and previous infections. All were tested for HIV and a phylogenetic analysis was performed. 

Results: A total of 23 (59%) of all 39 male patients diagnosed with primary or secondary syphilis between August 2008 and August 2009 were interviewed. All were MSM and performed anal intercourse, while 13 (55%) reported unprotected anal intercourse. Most participants (21, 91%) practiced unprotected oral intercourse. Nine participants (39%) reported unprotected oral intercourse while using condoms during anal intercourse. Ten participants (43%) reported sexual contacts while traveling abroad in the previous few months. Most participants (96%) were co-infected with HIV, and 15 (68%) were already aware of their HIV infection. Fifteen (66%) reported the use of recreational drugs, alcohol, or both before or during sex. No common source or core transmitters were identified.

Conclusions: This syphilis outbreak included MSM who were co-infected with HIV and were characterized by risky sexual behavior including multiple partners, unprotected anal intercourse and substance use. Future targeted interventions should focus on HIV-infected MSM for secondary prevention.
November 2010
O. Vinitsky, L. Ore, H. Habiballa and M. Cohen Dar

Background: The incidence of cutaneous leishmaniasis in northern Israel began to rise in 2000, peaking at 41.0 per 100,000 in the Kinneret subdistrict during the first half of 2003.

Objectives: To examine the morbidity rates of CL[1] in northern Israel during the period 1999–2003, which would indicate whether new endemic areas were emerging in this district, and to identify suspicious hosts.

Methods: The demographic and epidemiologic data for the reported cases (n=93) were analyzed using the GIS and SPSS software, including mapping habitats of suspicious hosts and localizing sites of infected sand flies.

Results: The maximal incidence rate in the district was found in the city Tiberias in 2003: 62.5/100,000 compared to 0–1.5/100,000 in other towns. The cases in Tiberias were centered on the peripheral line of two neighborhoods, close to the habitats of the rock hyraxes. Sand flies infected with Leishmania tropica were captured around the residence of those affected. Results of polymerase chain reaction were positive for Leishmania tropica in 14 of 15 tested patients.

Conclusions: A new endemic CL area has emerged in Tiberias. The most suspicious reservoir of the disease is the rock hyrax.






[1] CL = cutaneous leishmaniasis


May 2010
O. Hochwald, E.S. Bamberger, L. Rubin, R. Gershtein and I. Srugo

Background: An outbreak of pertussis occurred in a daycare center with 87.5% vaccination coverage.

Objectives: To assess the effectiveness of the acellular pertussis vaccine and prevention of pertussis after chemoprophylaxis with azithromycin.

Methods: We studied 31 daycare children aged 3–5.5 years exposed to a child with pertussis. Nasopharyngeal swabs were obtained for Bordetella pertussis culture and polymerase chain reaction initially, and at days 21 and 60 of follow-up, in cases exhibiting symptoms.

Results: Of the 31 daycare children 6 (19%) tested positive for B. pertussis by PCR[1], 4 of whom had not been vaccinated against the disease. Of the two vaccinated children who contracted pertussis, one had milder symptoms and the other was asymptomatic. The incidence of pertussis was significantly lower in the vaccinated group (2/27) than in the unvaccinated group (4/4) (P = 0.000), with efficacy of the vaccine calculated to be 92.5%. Azithromycin chemoprophylaxis was taken only by 14 of the 25 exposed children (56%). On day 21 follow-up, there was no further laboratory-diagnosed B. pertussis cases in any of the exposed children, regardless of whether or not chemoprophylaxis was taken.

Conclusions: Based on the children’s clinical manifestations and PCR findings a pertussis outbreak had occurred in the daycare center studied. Our findings support the importance of pertussis vaccination since all the unvaccinated children in the daycare center contracted the infection.

 



[1] PCR = polymerase chain reaction
 
 
February 2009
C. Stein-Zamir, E. Tallen-Gozani, N. Abramson, H. Shoob, R. Yishai, V. Agmon, A. Reisfeld, L. Valinsky and E. Marva

Background: Foodborne Salmonella enterica outbreaks constitute both a threat to public health and an economic burden worldwide.

Objectives: To characterize the pathogen(s) involved and possible source of infection of an outbreak of acute gastroenteritis in a banqueting hall in Jerusalem.

Methods: We conducted interviews of guests and employees of the banqueting hall, and analyzed food items, samples from work surfaces and stool cultures.

Results: Of 770 persons participating in three events on 3 consecutive days at a single banqueting hall, 124 were interviewed and 75 reported symptoms. Salmonella enterica, serovar Enteritidis, phage type C-8, was isolated from: 10 stool cultures (eight guests, one symptomatic employee and one asymptomatic employee) and a sample of a mayonnaise-based egg salad. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis[c1]  of the isolates revealed an identical pattern in the outbreak isolates, different from SE C-8 controls. A culture-positive, asymptomatic employee was linked to all three events. After a closure order, allowing for cleaning of the banqueting hall, revision of food preparation procedures and staff instruction on hygiene, the banqueting hall was reopened with no subsequent outbreaks.

Conclusions: It is often difficult to pinpoint the source of infection in S. enterica outbreaks. Using molecular subtyping methods, a link was confirmed between patients, a food handler, (presumably a carrier) and a food item – all showing an identical specific Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis. Testing asymptomatic as well as symptomatic food handlers in outbreak investigations is imperative. Pre- and post-hiring screening might be considered as preventive measures; hygiene and sanitation education are essential.





 [c1]OK




 
September 2008
Y. Linhart, Z. Amitai, M. Lewis, S. Katser, A. Sheffer and T. Shohat

Background: Food-borne pharyngitis outbreaks causing substantial morbidity have been documented.

Objectives: To investigate an outbreak of food-borne Streptococcus beta hemolyticus group A pharyngitis among employees of a high-tech company.

Methods: We received a report on an unusually high rate of morbidity among employees of a company in September 2003. The Tel Aviv District Health Office conducted an epidemiological investigation of the outbreak.

Results: Among the 278 people who attended a company party, 83 people became ill. The overall attack rate was 29.8%. Information was available on 174 of 193 employees and family members who attended the party and worked in the Tel Aviv district. Forty-six of them became ill (attack rate 26.4%). The secondary attack rate was 3.8%. Most cases developed symptoms 24–48 hours following the event. Seven cases had throat cultures positive for Streptococcus beta hemolyticus group A. Three items were significantly associated with becoming sick: spring chicken (odds ratio 2.26, 95% confidence interval 1.11–4.63, P = 0.02), vegetable salad (OR[1] 2.88 95%CI[2] 1.40–5.94, P = 0.003) and corn (OR 7.73, 95%CI 3.18–18.80, P < 0.001). Eating corn remained significantly associated with pharyngitis after controlling for other food items consumed.

Conclusions: We describe the epidemiological investigation of a large food-borne outbreak of Streptococcus beta hemolyticus group A pharyngitis most probably transmitted by corn. No previous publication has implicated corn. Food handlers and the public should be aware that they can transmit diseases to others.. Physicians should be aware that streptococcal pharyngitis could be a food-borne disease and that outbreaks in a non-confined setting may be easily missed.

 






[1] OR = odds ratio

[2] CI = confidence interval


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.

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