The head of the Public Health Services Department in the
Israel Health Ministry, Dr. Alex Leventhal, recently said:
"The mortality rate due to pneumonia is currently higher than
the average rate of the past ten years. Death from pneumonia
occurs mainly among the weaker sectors of the population
which include the elderly and the chronically ill who, for
the most part, did not receive flu inoculations and, after
contracting the flu, they suffer serious complications which
result in death."
According to Dr. Leventhal, the reason for the high mortality
rate is the failure of the public to take flu shots. "Today
only 40-50 percent of the population has been inoculated
against the flu, and the danger in the nursing homes and the
old age homes is like wildfire. In Israel it isn't mandatory
to be inoculated against the flu, and people ignore warnings
of flu outbreaks."
Dr. Leventhal noted that despite the fact that the mortality
rate is higher than average, we have still not yet reached
midwinter and the rate is likely to go even higher with the
lower temperatures and the increased rains.
Dr. Leventhal said that the current flu shot includes
protection against three types of flu, two of which -- A and
B -- have already arrived in Israel and have infected quite a
number of people during the past few weeks.