Israel Confirms Fourth Case of Swine Flu

A fourth case of swine flu was diagnosed in Israel yesterday. The patient was a 20-year-old woman from Holon who recently returned from Mexico.

The woman, who arrived here on Iberia flight 3752 Saturday morning, checked into Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv with a high fever and was put into quarantine. The Health Ministry has urged other passengers on this flight to "voluntarily quarantine themselves" - meaning stay home - for the next week as a safety precaution, and to go to the emergency room immediately if they develop any symptoms of the flu.

A 3-year-old child was also quarantined yesterday with symptoms of swine flu, at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. The Health Ministry shut down the small private day-care center that she attended with another four other children until further notice. The girl, who returned from Mexico last Monday with her parents and sister, was brought to the hospital on Saturday with a runny nose, cough and fever. However, said Dr. Yechiel Shlesinger, head of the hospital's infectious diseases unit, she is "excellent condition, and doesn't understand what all the fuss is about."

The Jerusalem municipality declined comment, other than to note that the girl attended a private day-care center rather than a municipal one.

On the plus side, two other suspected swine flu patients were determined not to have the disease yesterday - a 33-year-old woman and her 8-month-old baby, both of whom were hospitalized in Jerusalem's Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem on Saturday.

The Health Ministry stressed yesterday that the best way to prevent contracting the flu is by "personal hygiene - washing your hands with soap and water." It also urged parents not to send sick children to day care, school or any other place where they will be in contact with other children. Symptoms of the disease in children include fever, cough, sore throat, headaches and muscle pain, the ministry noted.

Sick children who have been in contact with a diagnosed flu victim or who recently returned from Mexico should be brought to the emergency room promptly, the ministry added, and if possible, parents should notify the hospital before arriving.

Also yesterday, experts from Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority met to discuss measures to control wild pigs that cross borders, as well as other steps to keep swine flu from spreading, the German press agency DPA reported.

"A plan has been approved for cooperation among the three parties for hunting wild pigs to decide their health conditions and ensure that they are not suffering from any disease," said Nasser Hawamdeh, assistant secretary general of Jordan's Agriculture Ministry.

Both the Jordanian and Palestinian governments said their territories were still free of the disease.

Jonathan Lis contributed to this report.