Israeli flight attendant dies from measles caught on flight from New York

Wednesday 14th August, 2019
Rotem Amitai

JERUSALEM, Aug. 14 (Xinhua/GNA) - A flight attendant of Israeli flag carrier El Al Israel Airlines has died, about five months after contracting measles during a flight from the U.S. city of New York.

The attendant, Rotem Amitai, a 43-year-old mother of three, was exposed to the virus on a flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York to Israel's Ben Gurion Airport in late March.

She was hospitalized in isolation, suffering from respiratory failure and unconsciousness. Despite the intensive care she received, her condition worsened and she went into a coma. Amitai was previously vaccinated in one dose against measles, but according to the Israeli Ministry of Health, only those who received two doses are considered immune with 97 percent efficiency.

Measles is a serious infectious disease manifested by cough, runny nose, high fever, characteristic rash, photophobia, oral lesions and inflammation of the eye conjunctiva.

From the time of infection, it takes about eight to 12 days of incubation until the virus spreads in the body.

The scans showed that she suffered from a widespread brain injury called meningoencephalitis, which is known as one of the complications of measles.

According to the Israeli Ministry of Health data, as of July 11, 2019, there were 4,292 measles patients in the state, 1,444 of whom are in the city of Jerusalem.

El Al said it has vaccinated its flight crews and would continue to work on the issue in accordance with the ministry's instructions.