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Page last updated at 16:52 GMT, Wednesday, 17 June 2009 17:52 UK

Israeli president swine flu scare

Shimon Peres
Mr Peres thought the likelihood of H1N1 infecting him was low

Israeli President Shimon Peres has been tested for swine flu, after receiving a group of young Jews from abroad who were later found to be infected.

Mr Peres shook hands and hugged 120 youngsters from a 5,000-strong party visiting the country as guests of the Birthright Israel organisation.

The alarm was raised when 20 of them, along with 18 soldiers accompanying the group, tested positive for the virus.

Mr Peres and staff at his official home were cleared of H1N1 virus infection.

President Peres said he did not regret meeting the young people last week:

SWINE FLU
Swine flu is a respiratory disease thought to spread through coughing and sneezing
Symptoms mimic those of normal flu
Good hygiene like using a tissue and washing hands thoroughly can help reduce transmission

"It is not their fault they got sick and I believe everybody will be okay."

Birthright Israel provides expenses-paid 10-day trips to Israel for Jewish adults aged 18-26 who have not visited the country before.

There have been 117 confirmed cases of the swine flu virus in Israel, according to the World Health Organization.

Last week the WHO declared the virus a global pandemic that has spread to 74 countries. There have been some 30,000 cases diagnosed globally and more than 140 deaths.



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