Doctors at Tel Aviv's Sourasky Medical Center yesterday quarantined a 34-year-old man who recently returned from Mexico and was diagnosed with swine flu. The man's 27-year-old partner, who was with him in Mexico, is also under quarantine but has not yet been positively identified as having the virus.
"The couple came on Wednesday to the emergency room," the head of the hospital's epidemiology unit, Prof. Yehuda Carmeli, said. "They were not diagnosed with the flu so after consultations with the Health Ministry we decided not to hospitalize them. We asked them not to go to public places. On Friday returned, presenting with much more pronounced symptoms - the woman had a slight fever and her partner felt ill. They are currently in good condition and one might they say have already recovered."
The man was the third Israeli to be positively identified as having swine flu. Three other Israelis are being tested for the disease.
A 33-year-old woman and her 8-month-old baby were placed in quarantine at Jerusalem's Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Kerem, after presenting with flu symptoms. They were on the same flight from New York to Tel Aviv as a 47-year-old man who was diagnosed with the virus. He has since recovered and was discharged from hospital, as was Tomer Vajim, the first confirmed Israeli case.
"The mother presented with flu symptoms and has a fever, and the baby, who is still nursing, also presented with mild symptoms," Prof. Dan Engelhard, head of pediatrics at Hadassah Ein Kerem, said. Englehard is also the head of the Israeli task force for the disease. Yesterday he called on the public to act responsibly and refrain from going to public places if they feel ill.
A third woman, who returned to Israel yesterday from Mexico via a connecting flight through Madrid, is being tested for the virus. Authorities have asked passengers on the flight to get tested at hospitals if they feel ill.
Two other people suspected of having swine flu - a 9-year-old girl from Ra'anana and a 75-year-old woman, also from the Sharon region - were discharged from hospital after their lab tests came back negative.
The spread of the flu and the extensive media coverage it has received have put many people throughout the country on edge: the Kibbutz Movement announced it would not take volunteers from Mexico for now.
The organization said it had decided to postpone the arrival of 10 youths from Mexico who were due to arrive in two weeks. Officials said they had informed the Mexican volunteers of their decision and that they would be welcome to volunteer once fears concerning a possible pandemic abate.