It has recently emerged that the Israeli Health Ministry has been fighting off a health epidemic sine the beginning of the year. A deadly bacterium known as Klebsiella pneumoniae is believed to have killed some 120-200 patients in hospitals across the country.In an Israeli online news report, Prof. Yehuda Carmeli, the head of the epidemiology unit at the Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv stated that ‘Between 400 to 500 people have been infected by the bug, and 30 to 40 percent of them have already died. However, it is important to note that most of them were in a serious condition, and some were suffering from prior medical conditions.’

However, Dr.Itamar Shalit, an authority on infectious diseases said Wednesday ‘(some) patients who died since the start of year were found to have been infected with the virulent strain of bacteria that has sparked current concern, but it remains unclear if the bacteria was the cause of death in these cases’ according to Israeli media sources.

It has become clear that the strain of bacteria is resistant to many antibiotics and is known to cause severe infection, particularly in patients already suffering from an illness. Klebsiella pneumoniae is apparently one of the strongest antibiotic-resistant bacterium in existence.

Health Minister Yacov Ben Yizri on Wednesday rejected accusations that his ministry had underestimated the scope of the outbreak, saying the case was kept a secret to prevent mass panic.