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עמוד בית
Sat, 20.07.24

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November 2003
J. Shachor, C. Ziv, S. Varsano, T. Erlich, E. Goldman, Y. Dror, I. Yahovy and R. Navon

Background: It has been argued that arginine replacement in locus16 (Arg16) of ß2 adrenergic receptor with glycin (Gly16) increases asthma severity, while glutamin replacement in locus 27 (Gln27) with glutamic acid (Glu27) decreases it. In addition, ethnic dependency of these polymorphisms has been described, but few studies investigated its relation to asthma severity in a non-anglosaxic population.

Objectives: To investigate non-anglosaxic ethnic influences on ß2AR[1] polymorphisms and its correlations to asthma severity.

Methods: Sixty-six Israeli Jewish and Arab asthmatics who had near-fatal asthma and/or severe nocturnal asthma and/or steroid-dependency were investigated for genetic polymorphisms of ß2AR and compared to matched controls. The Jewish patients included both Ashkenazi (of East European origin) and non-Ashkenazi (originating from the Middle East or North Africa). The results were compared with those of ethnically matched 113 non-asthmatic Israelis, and of non-asthmatic Anglo-Saxons described in the literature.

Results: We found no significant genetic differences between the asthmatics and their controls or between the various ethnic groups of our population. However, the prevalence of Glu27 was significantly lower in non-asthmatic Israelis compared to non-asthmatic Anglo-Saxons.

Conclusions: The genetic distribution of ß2AR polymorphisms in severe Israeli asthmatics is not different from that of non-asthmatic Israelis and therefore its clinical impact on asthma is probably minimal.

[1] ß2AR =  beta 2 adrenergic receptor

August 2002
Shabtai Varsano, MD

Asthma in Israel is a growing medical problem, affecting at least 7% of children and 3.7% of the total population. Mortality rates in the age group 5-34 years were on a rise between 1976 and 1990 but show a marked decrease in recent years, perhaps due to the sharp increase in sales of inhaled corticosteroids. There is also a recent indication that the relatively high crude mortality rate among women is declining (from 3.68 and 4.58 per 100,000 in 1997). In spite of better asthma education and management there is still a gap between available medical knowledge and medical therapy and its utilization for benefit of the asthmatic population in Israel.

December 2001
Tamar Peled MSc, Michael Weingarten BM BCh, Noemi Varsano MSc, Andre Matalon MD, Adi Fuchs MD, Robert D. Hoffman MD, Charna Zeltcer MD, Ernesto Kahan MD MPH, Ella Mendelson PhD and Tiberio A. Swartz MD MPH

Background: Each winter influenza activity is a major cause of morbidity and mortality both in Israel and worldwide.

Objectives: To identify the influenza viruses active in Israel during the winter season and to assess the extent of influenza morbidity.

Methods: Information was collected on a population of 18,684 individuals enrolled in two community clinics in central Israel. It included the total number of visits for acute respiratory infection – including influenza and influenza-like illness (ARI/flu-like) – during a 20 week surveillance period (23 November 1997 to 27 March 1998) and the percent of influenza virus isolates in nasopharyngeal specimens from a sample of patients with ARI/flu-like collected on a weekly basis during the same period.

Results: A total of 5,947 visits for ARI/flu-like were recorded among 18,684 enrolled patients in two community clinics (18.1%). The progressive increase in the number of visits for ARI/flu-like reached a peak on week 2/98 with 597 visits and a rate of 31.95 visits per 1,000 population. After this, a decrease to the initial values was evident by week 12/98. Most affected patients were in the age groups 5–14 and 65 years and over, with a rate of 733.5 and 605.3 visits per 1,000 population, respectively. Influenza virus was isolated from 92 of the 426 nasopharyngeal specimens (21.6%). The most commonly detected strain was A/Sydney/5/97(H3N2) like (77.2%). The peak rate of isolates was recorded at the beginning of January (01/98).

Conclusions: A/Sydney/5/97(H3N2) like-strain was the dominant influenza virus. Its presence did not prevent the simultaneous activity of influenza A/H1N1 virus. The dynamic of the clinical disease as expressed by the weekly visit rate for ARI/flu-like was similar to the temporal pattern of the virological findings. The extent of morbidity suggests moderate epidemic activity.

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