A flight attendant who contracted measles while flying to New York died Tuesday after being hospitalized for months, according to CBS News.
In late March, 43-year-old Rotem Amitai, a mother of three who worked for Israeli airline El Al, purportedly began to feel sick after flying to Tel Aviv from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. Around that time, Israel’s Ministry of Health also released an announcement notifying the public that “[t]here was a measles patient aboard EL AL flight 002 that departed from Kennedy Airport, New York City on March 26 2019 and arrived in Israel on March 27 2019.”
The Times of Israel reports that after the flight attendant exhibited symptoms, she checked into a hospital, where she slipped into a coma and suffered brain damage. Amitai was then moved into an isolated intensive care unit and diagnosed with meningoencephalitis — a condition in which the layers of thin tissue covering the brain and the brain itself are both infected.
It is unclear how Amitai initially contracted the viral infection. According to the woman’s blood tests, however, she had only received one vaccination shot against measles as opposed to the two shots that are recommended for people her age, the Times notes.
In the wake of Amitai’s passing, her family issued a statement, saying “Rotem was a wonderful person and a dedicated mother.”
El Al also offered its condolences.
“The company is bowing its head over the death of a member of El Al’s air crew,” the airline’s statement read, according to the Jewish Press. “The company will continue to act on the matter in accordance with the health ministry’s guidelines. Once the case became known, the company acted to vaccinate the company’s air crews. The company shares the deep grief … and will continue to accompany the family.”
Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) pointed out that it had learned of 1,182 individual cases of measles across 30 states this year. More than 75 percent of those cases were linked to outbreaks in New York and New York City, where Amitai flew out from this past spring.
“This is the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1992 and since measles was declared eliminated in 2000,” the agency said.
Symptoms of the measles include high fevers, coughing and rashes. The CDC encourages those who exhibit such symptoms or think they may have been exposed to measles to contact their doctor immediately.