Man, 40, dies of flu complications, latest victim of aggressive strain
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Man, 40, dies of flu complications, latest victim of aggressive strain

9-year-old girl hospitalized in serious condition as officials scramble to deal with demand for vaccines

Illustrative. A Magen David Adom (MDA) ambulance at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center, in Jerusalem, December 13, 2018. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
Illustrative. A Magen David Adom (MDA) ambulance at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center, in Jerusalem, December 13, 2018. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

A 40-year-old man died Thursday of complications of flu at Sheba hospital in central Israel, bringing the total number of deaths from the virus this winter in the country to 15.

The man, who was not vaccinated against the flu, did not suffer from background diseases.

A nine-year-old girl has been hospitalized in serious condition at the same hospital in Tel Hashomer, east of Tel Aviv. She was first taken to Assuta hospital in her home city of Ashdod, then taken to Sheba after she collapsed.

Twelve people have died since the beginning of the 2019-2020 flu season, according to Health Ministry figures, as the country continues to suffer from a particularly aggressive strain of the virus. At least nine of the fatalities were caused by complications of swine flu, Haaretz reported last week.

Last winter 17 people died due to flu.

So far over 100 people have been hospitalized in serious condition with the particularly virulent and aggressive strain of the virus, and numbers were expected to grow, with the height of the flu season expected around the end of January. The entire winter of 2018-2019 saw some 45 hospitalizations while 2017-2018 had 77.

Authorities are scrambling to purchase more flu vaccinations to deal with the overwhelming demand as Israelis rush to inoculate themselves against the spreading disease. Israel’s health organizations are feared to be running out of flu vaccines amid the health scare.

The Ynet news site reported Saturday that, with some 1.8 million people vaccinated so far the season, the country’s four health maintenance organizations were believed to have only some 150,000 vaccines remaining. There were reports of people being turned back from HMO branches due to shortages.

The four organizations all said they were working to obtain more vaccines to meet the extraordinary demand.

Last week, an 18-month-old girl died of complications of the flu at Rehovot’s Kaplan Medical Center. The child arrived at the hospital unconscious and in critical condition. Doctors were forced to declare the girl’s death shortly after her arrival. Her blood test showed that she had contracted the flu.

Her death came after on Tuesday a 19-year-old man at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center and a 14-year-old girl at Beersheba’s Sheba Medical Center died as a result of flu complications. A man, 50, also died from the disease at the Assuta Ashdod hospital in Ashdod, Haaretz reported.

Also last week, a woman giving birth was admitted into intensive care in very serious condition after contracting the flu. The 26-year-old’s condition improved and she ended up meeting her newborn child.

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