Israeli flight attendant dies from measles five months after New York to Tel Aviv flight

An Israeli flight attendant has died of measles.  

Mother-of-three Rotem Amitai, 43, died on Tuesday after conducting the virus in March, according to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva, Israel. 

The El Al airline employee had flown from New York to Tel Aviv just days before developing a fever, but is not known if became fell ill on the flight, in the US or in Israel.  

Mother-of-three Rotem Amitai, 43, died on Tuesday after conducting the virus in March, according to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva, Israel

Mother-of-three Rotem Amitai, 43, died on Tuesday after conducting the virus in March, according to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva, Israel

Rotem was vaccinated against the viral illness as a child ans was otherwise healthy.

In a statement her family described her as a ‘wonderful woman’ and ‘a devoted mother’.

‘We are grieving and mourning her passing before her time’ they added. 

On March 26, Rotem flew from John F. Kennedy Airport in New York to Tel Aviv. 

Just five days later she fell into ill and went into a coma, due to swelling of the brain, a complication of measles. 

In a statement, her employer said: ‘El Al mourns the death of a member of the airline’s flight crew. 

Rotem was vaccinated against the viral illness as a child ans was otherwise healthy. In a statement her family described her as a 'wonderful woman' and 'a devoted mother'.

Rotem was vaccinated against the viral illness as a child ans was otherwise healthy. In a statement her family described her as a ‘wonderful woman’ and ‘a devoted mother’.

‘We have taken steps to have our air crews inoculated’.

‘We extend our deepest condolences to the bereaved family and will continue to stand by them.’   

Everyone has a slight risk of developing measles because being vaccinated does not guarantee full immunity.

So far this year, 360,000 have contracted the illness globally.  

Measles is common in many developing countries, particularly parts of Africa and Asia. 

More than 95 percent of measles deaths occur in countries with low average incomes.

It’s very rare in the US and Israel,  there have been 4,300 cases of measles in Israel in the last 18 months.

Measles was declared eliminated in the US in 2000, but there have been more than 1100 case this year, three-quarters of which were in New York. 

Outbreaks can be particularly life-threatening in countries experiencing or recovering from natural disasters or conflict.

Damage to health services disrupts routine immunization, while overcrowding greatly increases the risk of infection.

WHAT IS MEASLES, WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS AND HOW CAN YOU CATCH IT?

Measles is a highly contagious viral infection that spreads easily from an infected person by coughing, sneezing or even just breathing.

Symptoms develop between six and 19 days after infection, and include a runny nose, cough, sore eyes, a fever and a rash.

The rash appears as red and blotchy marks on the hairline that travel down over several days, turning brown and eventually fading. 

Some children complain of disliking bright lights or develop white spots with red backgrounds on their tongue.

In one in 15 cases, measles can cause life-threatening complications including pneumonia, convulsions and encephalitis.

Dr Ava Easton, chief executive of the Encephalitis Society told MailOnline: ‘Measles can be very serious. 

‘[It] can cause encephalitis which is inflammation of the brain. 

‘Encephalitis can result in death or disability.’

Treatment focuses on staying hydrated, resting and taking painkillers, if necessary.

Measles can be prevented by receiving two vaccinations, the first at 13 months old and the second at three years and four months to five years old.

Source: Great Ormond Street Hospital 

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