The war in Lebanon is continuing to take a heavy toll from the children of northern Israel, and not only psychologically: In recent months a sharp increase has been noted in the number of new patients suffering from juvenile diabetes in the north. The presumed reason for the increase in the incidence of the disease is the feelings of tension and stress that the children experienced in the war, which caused an outbreak of the disease. This is reported by the juvenile diabetes department at Ziv Medical Center, Safed.

In recent weeks, Ziv Hospital in Safed, which is supervising the treatment of the young patients in northern Israel, recorded an increase in the number of patients suffering from an outbreak of the disease. The staff of the juvenile diabetes department still have no numerical data on the dramatic increase in the number of new patients, since they keep arriving at the hospital every day. The department staff will present the increase today to professionals and patients at a juvenile diabetes conference that will be held at the hospital.

“The children who have come to us over the past weeks live in Safed and other communities in the Galilee-populations that have not shown such a high incidence of the disease in the past,” said Dr. Orna Dali-Gottfried, director of the department of pediatrics, juvenile diabetes and endocrinology at the hospital. “Two sectors that were very prominent in the latest wave of illness are children from the Orthodox sector and Druze children, who experienced this kind of stress for the first time in their lives during the war.

“In the past, we saw similar incidents of illness after dramatic security events in the area of Kiryat Shmona, but this time, because the city was evacuated almost completely of residents in the first days of the war, the incidents of illness moved southwards, towards Safed, where the children experienced the full horror of the war. There is no doubt that we are continuing to pay a high price in the health of the children in the north.”