Birthright trip in swine flu alert

June 17, 2009

At least a dozen participants on an Israel Birthright trip have tested positive for swine flu after contracting the virus whilst touring in Israel. It’s also been reported that 18 IDF soldiers have also been infected.

Several dozen soldiers were escorting the Taglit –Birthright youngsters, who are all over eighteen, during the trip.

It’s believed the outbreak began to spread last week, with Haaretz reporting that the victims were quarantined.

Ynet also reported that President Shimon Peres, who met the 100 American participants last Tuesday in Jerusalem , was tested for the virus. It said that neither he nor his 15 employees at the Presidential Residence have the virus.

He said: I don't regret meeting with the lovely Taglit kids. It's not their fault they got sick and I believe everybody will be okay."

Jonny Bunt, of Birthright UK , said: “The party was American and whilst we are of course concerned for them we haven’t heard of any British tourists who have caught it.” British participants are heading out for the week-long tours, which are heavily subsidised, this Sunday.

A foreign office spokesman said: “We are not aware of any British tourists who’ve been infected. We advise people travelling anywhere to check our guidelines on how to reduce the risks of catching or spreading the virus.”

On Tuesday, 21 new cases of swine flu were diagnosed in Israel , bringing the total number of patients in the country to 152.

Last updated: 5:47pm, June 17 2009