Meir Hospital- Alon Ron
Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba Photo by Alon Ron
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Two infants and a six-year old died at Assaf Harofeh Hospital over a 24-hourt period starting Sunday. The Health Ministry said that at this point the deaths appear to be coincidental.

Yesterday morning a four-month old baby was brought to Assaf Harofeh at Tzrifin from her home in nearby Ramle and pronounced dead on arrival. A senior official in the health system said yesterday that the infant had died of sudden infant death syndrome. However, an official cause of death has not yet been determined.

Sunday morning a three-month old, suffering from fever, vomiting and diarrhea, also from Ramle, died at Assaf Harofeh. She had been brought there from a health maintenance organization clinic, where resuscitation efforts had begun, which continued in the pediatric intensive care unit. Sources at the hospital said they believed the baby had died of a viral infection, although it is unclear whether it was a flu or another virus.

The six-year old, from Rishon Letzion, died Sunday afternoon in the Assaf Harofeh emergency ward. She had reportedly been suffering from a high fever and had fainted a number of times before arriving at the hospital. She was conscious on arrival but her condition quickly deteriorated and she died following several attempts at resuscitation. Her body was sent for autopsy to the Abu Kabir Institute of Forensic Medicine, and a cause of death has not yet been determined.

"So far, we are unaware of any common denominator among the cases," a hospital official said.

The Health Ministry said tissue samples had been sent for lab analysis to determine whether there was a contagious virus or bacteria involved.

"Results are expected today and over the next few days and the hospital continues to operate normally," the ministry said.

According to Health Ministry figures, the children's ward at Assaf Harofeh was operating at 171 percent capacity compared to the nationwide average of 108 percent.