Benjamin Netanyahu
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2nd case of swine flu confirmed; PM calls special meeting
(Video) Health Ministry says 49-year-old man returning from Mexico was diagnosed with flu, doing well. Netanyahu holds special meeting following growing concerns of H1N2 virus spreading in Israel, tasked the Health Ministry with ensuring nation's readiness

VIDEO - The Health Ministry announced Tuesday that a second case of swine flu has been confirmed in Israel.


The carrier, a 49-year-old man who returned from a visit to Mexico three days ago, was hospitalized in the Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba after exhibiting flu-like symptoms. Hospital officials said the he was in the isolation ward and doing well.


The man returned to Israel on El Al flight 26 from Mexico City to Tel Aviv. The Health Ministry urged people who were on the flight and are feeling unwell, to seek medical attention.  

Tuesday night also saw a nine-year-old boy hospitalized at the Dana Children's Hospital in Tel Aviv, after exhibiting signs of the swine flu. The boy reportedly arrived in Israel on the same flight at the 49-year-old man.


The first case of swine flu confirmed in Israel was that of 26-year-old Tomer Vajim, who was admitted to the Laniado Hospital in Netanya. Vajim's five-year-old niece was also admitted to the hospital after she exhibited flu symptoms. She is said to be doing well.


The Health Ministry instructed the child's kindergarten teacher to contact all parents and ask they be alert and avoid taking their children to crowded places for the time being. No decision has been made as to whether the kindergarten will temporarily close.


Health Ministry takes point

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened a special meeting in his office Tuesday evening regarding the looming threat of swine flu spreading in Israel.


Netanyahu was said to have the Defense Ministry take point on the matter, but eventually tasked the Health Ministry with ensuring the nation's readiness in case of an outbreak.


A regional conference on the perils of the swine flu pandemic is expected to be held on Thursday, with delegates from Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority in attendance; although Cairo has yet to confirm its delegation to the meeting.


Earlier, foreign and health ministries' officials met with various government representatives on the matter. They were briefed on the origin of the H1N2 virus and were told that so far, the only confirmed deaths form swine flu were found in Mexico.


The problem, they were told, is the fact that the flu in undetectable while the virus is still in the incubation stages, and therefore the dangers is that Israelis who are unaware of being infected, will return to Israel in the next few days.


The Foreign Ministry is said to be making every effort to locate any Israelis who may have been infected before the leave Mexico. The ministry's situation room is currently in contact with the World Health Organization and various health bureaus worldwide.


The ministry has also briefed all Israeli ambassadors around the world of the situation, and all have been instructed to report of any developments in their respective countries.


Meanwhile, Mexico's Ambassador to Israel Frederico Salas, filed a formal complaint with the Foreign Ministry, regarding Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman's demand that Israel referees to the disease as the "Mexican flu," since pigs are not kosher.


Salas protested the statement, saying his government was offended by the suggestion. The Foreign Ministry assured the Mexican ambassador that the disease will be called "swine flu" and offered its apology if any offense was taken.


Roni Sofer Meital Yasur-Beit Or contributed to this report


First published: 28.04.09, 17:35
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