Hundreds die from deadly bacteria in Israel

March 7, 2007

Doctors said an antibiotic-resistant bacterium known as Klebsiella pneumoniae has killed as many as 200 patients in hospitals across Israel.

Elderly patients and people with weak immune systems are particularly vulnerable to the bacterium, Arutz Sheva reported.

Epidemiologist Yehuda Carmeli of the Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv said 400 to 500 people have been infected by the bug.

"Thirty to forty percent of them have already died," Carmeli told YNetNews. "However, it is important to note that most of them were in a serious condition, and some were suffering from prior medical conditions."

Infectious diseases specialist Dr. Galia Rahav told Israel's Channel 1 that 130 patients at Sheba Hospital have become infected. One-third of those patients have died.

YNetNews said the Israeli Health Ministry has set up a committee of experts to "determine the scope of the problem and advise hospitals on how to contain it."

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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