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עמוד בית
Tue, 28.05.24

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March 2012
Z. Mor, T. Shohat, Y. Goor and M. Dan
Background: The increase in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Israel during the last decade raises concerns regarding other sexually transmitted diseases (STD) in MSM, which are yet undetermined.

Objectives: To evaluate the STD burden in MSM and heterosexuals visiting the Tel Aviv walk-in STD clinic.

Methods: Records of all male patients who attended the clinic once were reviewed to identify demographic characteristics, behavioural attributes, and test results.

Results: Between 2002 and 2008, 1064 MSM (22%) and 3755 heterosexuals (78%) visited the clinic once. Positivity rates in MSM for HIV, urethral Neisseria gonorrhoea and infectious syphilis were higher than in heterosexuals (2.5%, 2.5%. 0.7% vs. 0.6%, 1.3%, 0.3%, respectively), while urethral Chlamydia trachomatis was higher in heterosexuals than in MSM (2.7% and 1.4%, respectively). MSM tested in our clinic were younger than heterosexuals (P < 0.001), more commonly circumcised (P = 0.03) and Israeli-born (P < 0.001), used substances during sex (P = 0.04), and had prior STD (P < 0.001), a greater number of sexual partners (P < 0.001), and earlier sexual debut (P = 0.02). The final multivariate results for MSM to be diagnosed with HIV/STD were greater number of sexual contacts, previous diagnosis with STD, and infrequent use of condom during anal intercourse.

Conclusions: MSM visiting the Levinsky Clinic had higher rates of HIV/STD than heterosexual males, which correlated with their higher-risk behaviors. The unique characteristics of MSM found in our study, such as sex work, substance use, previous diagnosis of STD, multiple partners and inconsistent use of condom during anal sex should be addressed with innovative interventions to prevent STD/HIV in the gay community in Israel.
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 2010
Y. Linhart, O. Romano-Zelekha and T. Shohat

Background: Data regarding the validity of self-reported weight and height in adolescents are conflicting.

Objectives: To evaluate the validity of self-reported weight and height among 13–14 year old schoolchildren. 

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study of 517 schoolchildren aged 13–14 years and compared self-reported and measured weight and height by gender, population group, parental education and crowdedness.

Results: Females under-reported their weight on average by 0.79 ± 5.46 kg (P = 0.03), resulting in underestimation of the body mass index with borderline significance (mean difference 0.28 ± 2.26 kg/m², P = 0.06). Males over-reported their height on average by 0.75 ± 5.81 cm (P = 0.03). Children from less crowded homes (≤ 1 person per room) overestimated their height more than children from more crowded homes, resulting in a significant underestimation of BMI[1] (mean difference between reported BMI and measured values was 0.30 ± 2.36 kg/m², P = 0.04). Measured BMI was a significant predictor of the difference between self-reported and measured BMI, adjusted for gender, population group, parents' education, and crowdedness (β = -0.3, P < 0.0001). As a result of this reporting bias, only 54.9% of children with overweight and obesity (BMI ≥ 85th percentile) were classified correctly, while 6.3% of children were wrongly classified as overweight and obese. The largest difference in BMI was observed in obese females (4.40 ± 4.34) followed by overweight females (2.18 ± 1.95) and underweight females (-1.38 ± 1.75). Similar findings were observed for males, where the largest difference was found among obese males (2.83 ± 3.44).

Conclusions: Studies based on self-reported weight and height in adolescents may be biased. Attempts should be made to correct this bias, based on the available data for each population.






[1] BMI = body mass index


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


December 2007
H.N. Baris, I. Kedar, G.J. Halpern, T. Shohat, N. Magal, M.D. Ludman and M. Shohat

Background: Fanconi anemia complementation group C and Bloom syndrome, rare autosomal recessive disorders marked by chromosome instability, are especially prevalent in the Ashkenazi* Jewish community. A single predominant mutation for each has been reported in Ashkenazi Jews: c.711+4A→T (IVS4 +4 A→T) in FACC[1] and BLMAsh in Bloom syndrome. Individuals affected by both syndromes are characterized by susceptibility for developing malignancies, and we questioned whether heterozygote carriers have a similarly increased risk.

Objectives: To estimate the cancer rate among FACC and BLMAsh carriers and their families over three previous generations in unselected Ashkenazi Jewish individuals.

Methods: We studied 42 FACC carriers, 28 BLMAsh carriers and 43 controls. The control subjects were Ashkenazi Jews participating in our prenatal genetic screening program who tested negative for FACC and BLMAsh. All subjects filled out a questionnaire regarding their own and a three-generation family history of cancer. The prevalence rates of cancer among relatives of FACC, BLMAsh and controls were computed and compared using the chi-square test.

Results: In 463 relatives of FACC carriers, 45 malignancies were reported (9.7%) including 10 breast (2.2%) and 13 colon cancers (2.8%). Among 326 relatives of BLMAsh carriers there were 30 malignancies (9.2%) including 7 breast (2.1%) and 4 colon cancers (1.2%). Controls consisted of 503 family members with 63 reported malignancies (12.5%) including 11 breast (2.2%) and 11 colon cancers (2.2%).

Conclusions: We found no significantly increased prevalence of malignancies among carriers in at least three generations compared to the controls.






* Jews of East European origin



[1] FACC = Fanconi anemia complementation group C


July 2001
Tsafra Ilan, MSc, Tamy Shohat, MD, Ana Tobar, MD, Nurit Magal, PhD, Michal Yahav, BSc, Gabrielle J. Halpern, MB, ChB, Gidi Rechavi, MD and Mordechai Shohat, MD

Background: Familial nephritis is a heterogeneous group of disorders caused by several genetic conditions such as Alport syndrome, glomerulonephritic syndromes, and unclas­sified nephritis without deafness or ocular defects.

Objectives: To describe a family of Iraqi Jewish origin, several of whose members suffer from non-syndromic renal failure without deafness or ocular defects and where transmis­sion is by autosomal dominant inheritance. We present the case histories of four family members and describe the molecular analysis performed in order to seek a possible linkage to one of the genes causing Alport or Alport-like syndromes.

Methods: We investigated all family members over the age of 18 for evidence of renal failure. We also extracted DNA and carried out molecular linkage analysis with polymorphic markers in each of the known loci involved in Alport and Alport­like syndromes.

Results: Histology of the renal biopsy specimens showed non-specific findings. Linkage was excluded for all the Alport and Alport-like syndrome loci.

Conclusions: The condition suffered by several members of this family seems to represent a unique autosomal dominant type of progressive hereditary nephritis, characterized by hypertension and progressive renal failure without significant hematuria or proteinuria. The main histological changes are non-specific in the early stage of the disease. Our study rules out all the currently known genes that cause Alport syndrome as being responsible for the basic defect in this type of nephritis.

May 2001
Manfred S. Green, MD, PhD, Gali Aharonowitz, MD, Tamy Shohat, MD, MPH, Rachel Levine, MD, Emilia Anis, MD, MPH and Paul E. Slater, MD, MPH

Background: Between 1970 and 1979, there was an increase in the incidence of viral hepatitis in Israel with a shift of peak incidence to an older age in the Jewish population, followed by a declining trend during the early 1980s. In July 1999 universal immunization of infants against hepatitis A was introduced.

Objective: To evaluate the chan-ges in the epidemiology of viral hepatitis A in Israel during the past decade.

Methods: Viral hepatitis is a notifiable disease in Israel and cases are reported to the regional health offices, which in turn provide summary reports to the Ministry of Health's Department of Epidemiology. The data in this study were derived from the summary reports and from results of seroprevalence studies.

Results: Following the increase in the incidence of reported viral hepatitis (mainly due to type A) between 1970 and 1979, the rates then stabilized and around 1984 began to decline until 1992. Since then there has been a slight increase. Whereas until 1987 the rates were consistently higher in the Jewish population. since then they are higher in the Arab population. The shift in the peak age-specific incidence from the 1-4 to the 5-9 year age group observed in the Jewish population around 1970 occurred 20 years later in the Arab population. The previously described seasonality is no longer evident. Recent seroprevalence studies indicate that by age 18 years only about 30-40% of the Jewish population have anti-hepatitis A antibodies.

Conclusions: The decline in the incidence of hepatitis probably reflects the changing socioeconomic condition occurring at different times in the two major population groups. Since hepatitis A accounts for almost all the acute viral hepatitis in Israel, the universal vaccination of infants introduced in 1999 should substantially lower the morbidity within the next few years.

March 2001
Tamy Shohat, MD, MPH, Orly Ramono-Zelekha and the Israel Network for Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology

Background: Charts of fetal measurements are widely used in the follow-up of pregnant women, however no charts have been constructed for the Israeli population.

Objectives: To establish growth charts for fetal femur size and biparietal diameter.

Methods: A prospective cross-sectional study of 1,422 singleton pregnancies was conducted.

Results: A total of 1,143 pregnancies met the inclusion criteria. Femur length and biparietal diameter were measured. A linear cubic model was fitted to construct growth charts for the different centiles. The charts were compared with previously published data.

Conclusions: We have constructed new fetal measure­ment charts for femur length and biparietal diameter that are unique for the Israeli population. These charts have been found to be similar to those published for other Caucasian populations.
 

May 2000
Lutfi Jaber MD, Tzipora Dolfin MD, Tamy Shohat MD, Gabrielle J. Halpern MB ChB, Orit Reish MD and Moshe Fejgin MD.

Background: A high rate of consanguineous marriages exists within the Israeli Arab community, with approximately half occurring between first cousins. This contributes towards a high incidence of congenital malformations and autosomal recessive diseases, many of which are detectable at prenatal diagnosis.

Objectives: To assess the levels of both awareness and acceptance regarding prenatal diagnosis and termination of pregnancy among a group of Arab women in order to devise the optimal means of providing genetic counseling and general health services.

Methods: A total of 231 Arab women of childbearing age were interviewed 3 days postpartum to assess their knowledge of prenatal diagnosis and termination of pregnancy, their willingness to undergo prenatal diagnosis, and their opinions on termination of pregnancy in the event of a severely affected fetus.

Results: Half the women believed that prenatal testing is not an effective (or accurate) tool for diagnosing an affected fetus. A quarter had poor knowledge on prenatal diagnosis, and a quarter believed that prenatal diagnosis does provide the correct diagnosis. Ninety-five percent said they would agree to undergo prenatal diagnosis; and in the event of a severely affected fetus, 36% said they would agree to a termination of pregnancy, 57% said they would not, and 7% were undecided.

Conclusions: There is a need for special intervention programs, with guidance by health professionals, geneticists and religious authorities, that will inform this population on the increased risk associated with consanguinity, stress the importance and effectiveness of prenatal testing to identify severe congenital malformations, and help them to accept prenatal diagnosis and termination of pregnancy if indicated.

March 2000
Tamy Shohat MD, Manfred S. Green MD PhD, Orly Nakar MD, Ami Ballin MD, Poriya Duvdevani PhD, Avital Cohen MD and Mordechai Shohat MD

Background: In trials comparing different formulations of measles vaccine, excess non-specific mortality occurred in female children who received high titer vaccine. These findings suggest a gender-specific effect of measles vaccine.

Objectives: To determine whether gender differences exist in the rates of adverse reactions and morbidity in the month following immunization with measles-containing vaccine, and to evaluate whether there is a gender-specific association between the humoral immune response to measles vaccination and post-vaccination morbidity.

Methods: Parents completed questionnaires on the health status of 755 infants aged 15-20 months, during the month preceding and the month following the measles-mumps-rubella vaccination. Blood samples were tested for measles antibody titers in a subsample of 237 infants.

Results: After controlling background morbidity in the infants, the relative risk of fever and rash following vaccination was 2.35 in females and 1.36 in males. The geometric mean antibody titers against measles were similar in both sexes and there was no significant association between antibody titer and post-vaccination morbidity in either sex.

Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate higher rates of adverse effects in females following vaccination with MMR vaccine, irrespective of the humoral response. This study emphasizes the need to consider possible gender differences when evaluating new vaccines.

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MMR= measles-mumps-rubella

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