Fewer deaths, more serious cases, Health Ministry data show.
By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
DECEMBER 25, 2019 06:37
Vaccination against the flu
(photo credit: CLALIT HEALTH SERVICES)
A 19-year-old man died from the flu on Tuesday, the third such death in as many days, as influenza season reared its head across the country.
Hillel Dahbash, 19, from Neria in the Binyamin region, was brought to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem in critical condition on Monday, where medical staff could not find his pulse. He was suffering from the flu and had been under medical supervision for the last few days. He died, despite the best efforts by the medical team.
A 14-year-old girl hospitalized at Sheba Medical Center also died from the flu on Sunday, the ministry released for publication on Tuesday. A report indicated she he had been suffering from other diseases, too.
A third person, a man in his fifties, died at the Assuta Ashdod Medical Center on Sunday, Channel 12 reported.
In total, 25 people are hospitalized in critical condition.
Data released by the Health Ministry on Tuesday showed a decrease of 1.5% of the public getting flu shots. It showed 15.7% of citizens were vaccinated in 2019, compared to 17.2% in 2018 and 18.1% in 2017.
Altogether this year, there have been 98 cases of patients critically ill with the flu and 10 deaths, according to the Health Ministry. This marks a rise in total patients, yet a decrease in mortality. Last year, 45 patients were categorized as critically ill with the flu and 17 died. Two years ago, 77 were critically ill and 37 died.
In other cases, a 10-year-old who was not vaccinated is currently hospitalized in critical condition due to kidney failure. A 40-year-old man, who was not deemed at risk of catching the flu, had to undergo a cardiopulmonary bypass.
Prof. Hagai Levine, head of the Israeli Association of Public Health Physicians, warned it has serious implications, despite the misconception that flu is an illness that can be cured on its own. “A flu can manifest itself as a difficult disease with severe complications and secondary infections,” he said. He also warned that in 2019, unlike other years, there has been “an increase in the number of patients with the flu.”
Due to delays by the WHO, vaccinations were not offered in Israel at the expected dates but were delayed to early November.