Testing clinic at Ben Gurion Airport
Photo: AFP

Israel, PA to cooperate on swine flu

Health Ministry representatives from Israel, Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority meet to discuss swine flu pandemic; Jerusalem offers help with lab testing for H1N1

The swine flu pandemic (H1N1) made for strange bedfellows on Friday as Israel offered its assistance to Jordan and the Palestinian Authority should either be required to start testing residents.


The tests will be conducted at the Health Ministry's central virology laboratory at the Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer.


Representatives from the Jordanian, Palestinian and Israeli Health Ministries held a five-hour meeting in Jerusalem on Friday. Egypt was also invited to take part in the meeting, and a representative from the Egyptian embassy sat in on the meeting.


Leading the meeting was Dr. Alex Leventhal, director of the Health Ministry's Department of International Relations.


"For five years now we have been working together on fighting epidemics. At the time, when it was bird flu, we shared our countries' doctrines and held a joint semiar. Now it is a different sort of virus and we are coordinating policies for border crossings," Dr. Leventhal told Ynet.

"The Jordanians are checking anyone who comes in from Israel. We in Israel only hand out information pamphlets, we aren't conducting tests based on the assumption that the chances of someone coming from Mexico to Jordan and then to Israel is low. We told them that if the need arises, the laboratory at Tel HaShomer is at their disposal."


The representatives are scheduled to meet again in two weeks. For now, there have been no confirmed cases of the flu strain in either Jordan or the Palestinian Authority.


No cases in Israel at present

Meanwhile in Israel, a couple was admitted to the Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv on Friday afternoon after having returned from Mexico. The 27-year-old woman and her 34-year-old partner are currently undergoing

tests to determine whether they contracted H1N1.


Also on Friday, 26-year-old Tomer Vajim, the first confirmed Israeli case, was released from the hospital after having made a full recovery.


The second patient, a 47-year-old, was released from the Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba.


With the release of the abovementioned two men, at present time there are no confirmed cases of H1N1 in Israel.


פרסום ראשון: 05.01.09, 20:49
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