(Israel raises non-Kosher pigs? Yup. And it has a pretty healthy wild population of wild boars, as well).
They are calling to cull all the “swine” in Egypt, as an apparent “pandemic” of swine flu appears to be on the verge of being something out of a nightmarish version of a Stephen King novel. Following the breaking news of more than a hundred deaths from the disease in Mexico, virtually shutting down the country’s Federal District and capital, Mexico City, cases of the disease have appeared in France, the USA, the UK and two cases are reported in Israel.
A 26 year old Sharon region resident is now hospitalized in an isolation section of Laniado Hospital, after returning from a holiday in Mexico with symptoms that resemble this very strong type of influenza, which has symptoms like high fever, coughing, headaches, and other maladies.
Like all cases of flu, including the dreaded avian or bird flu, weaker individuals, including young children, the sick and the elderly, and people with chronic respiratory problems, can develop complications such as pneumonia and heart seizure, that can result in death.
The young man, Tomer Vajim, a resident of Moshav Geulim outside Netanya, went to the emergency room of Laniado after complaining of flu-like symptoms.
Due to the concern the swine flu has created, enough for a special news conference to be conducted by US government health and security officials in Washington DC on Sunday, it was decided to keep Vajim in isolation until it can be definitely determined whether or not he actually has the disease.
Despite Israel’s strict Kashrut dietary laws, swine are raised in Israel to supply a growing demand for pork, now readily available all over the country, including being sold by a large supermarket chain, Tiv Taam. In addition to these domestic porkers, there are literally thousands of wild boar , sus scrofa in Latin, that roam the fields and forests of much of Israel’s Galilee and Carmel mountain areas, as well as on the Golan Heights. While it would be easy to inspect and cull out infected domestic swine, trying to capture the wild ones would be a major undertaking. The future of domestic swine being raised in Israel could be a concern, should any of these animals be found to be carriers of the disease.
According to health ministry officials, a person may be considered a potential carrier of the swine flu virus if his or her breathing system becomes compromised without apparent reason and the patient shows symptoms such as respiratory malfunction, high fever, congestion, throat pain, coughing or shortness of breath.
The disease seems to be easily transferred by humans, and people are advised to take extra hygienic precautions such as washing their hands more frequently, and avoid being in closed places where sick people could be. Carrying a small bottle of alcohol based hand cleaning gel is also a good idea.
Israeli health officials have not yet raised the alert to Level 4, which means a major epidemic for a disease easily transferred from person to person. But increased precautions are being made, including, extra preparations at airports to be on the alert for persons entering Israel with colds or flu-like symptoms.
Many young travelers coming back from places like South America and the Far East, often return with mild to severe respiratory infections; and as a resul, it’s better to be safe than sorry, one official said.
Israelis living or traveling in locations where cases of the disease have been discovered are being urged to take extra precautions and keep themselves informed by reading updated news and health bulletins.
[image credit eilamgil]