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עמוד בית
Sat, 02.03.24

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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.

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.

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

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.

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