The Health Ministry has launched an investigation into the sudden deaths in the past month of four toddlers and the severe illness of two others.
The cases, some of which were reported to the ministry in recent weeks by hospitals, including Schneider Children's Medical Center and the Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv, involved serious neurological and cardiac damage to the babies, but in most of the cases, no reason has been determined as yet for the illnesses or the deaths.
The initial ministry probe has turned up no connection among all six cases, although the ministry is still seeking one. The Health Ministry released a statement to the press yesterday that Schneider Children's had reported three recent cases of unusual illness among young children in the past three weeks. Of these, a 14-month-old girl, Ella Hanina, of Even Yehuda, died of unknown causes.
The child arrived at the hospital with extreme brain damage that led to her death. Her parents donated her organs.
Doctors believe Hanina had contracted the common intestinal virus Coxsackie B, which doctors say can cause severe damage in rare cases. However, physicians at Schneider are not sure the virus was the cause of the child's death.
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