Israel - Health official: Panic over swine flu justified

An Israeli health official says the public panic regarding mounting fears of a swine flu epidemic is "generally justified."

More than 100 cases of swine flu have been diagnosed since December, and several deaths have already been accorded to the disease.

Prof. Haim Bibi, pediatrics director at the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, tried to calm the fears, saying that although there were some mortalities, "the range of the disease is wide, and some suffer more than others. It's not an easy disease but not everyone is gravely hurt.

"The few who do are mostly children who suffer complications," he added.

Prof. Bibi further said that "if there is a high fever, a lack of appetite and a general feeling of flu, it's better to be examined. It's the unnecessary confusion which causes the great fear from swine flu."

The Hadassah Mount Scopus and Ein Kerem medical centers in Jerusalem diagnosed 11 patients with swine flu last week.

Some have already been released, and others are still under care. The two hospitals said that since December they have diagnosed 105 cases of swine flu.

More have been diagnosed with swine flu around the country and are in varying conditions.


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