A flight attendant who contracted measles in March has died in hospital after a five-month-long battle with the illness.
Rotem Amitai, 43, was a mother to three children and worked for El Al Airlines in Israel. In late March she reportedly contracted measles after travelling from New York to Tel Aviv, according to CNN. However, it is not known if she was infected on the flight.
On March 31, Ms Amitai developed a fever and a week later she fell into a coma. She was subsequently diagnosed with encephalitis — a complication of measles characterised by swelling of the brain.
On Tuesday (local time) Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva, Israel, announced that Ms Amitai had died.
The mother’s death from measles was confirmed by local government authority Emek Hefer Regional Council.
According to CNN, Ms Amitai was healthy prior to her illness and had been vaccinated against the disease as a child, but had received only one dose — as is the case with many people in her age group.
Her family put out a statement, calling her a “wonderful woman and a devoted mother”.
“We are grieving and mourning her passing before her time,” Ms Amitai’s family said.
Her employer, El Al Airlines said it was mourning the flight attendant’s death and had taken steps “to have our air crews inoculated”.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there were more reported measles cases in the first half of 2019 than in any other year since 2006.
The WHO noted that most of the outbreaks occur “in countries with low measles vaccination coverage” and in areas where there is a “lack of access to quality healthcare or vaccination services, conflict and displacement, misinformation about vaccines, or low awareness about the need to vaccinate.”
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