A flight attendant died from measles after taking a transatlantic flight from New York to Israel.
Rotem Amitai, 43, died in Tel Aviv on Tuesday, weeks after she was admitted to hospital following symptoms related to the highly contagious condition.
Amitai – who was an air hostess for Israel’s El Al airline – had flown from JFK Airport to Tel Aviv on March 26.
The mum-of-three, otherwise described as fit and healthy, developed a fever on March 31 and slipped into a coma a week later.
She was eventually diagnosed with encephalitis, or swelling of the brain, which is a measles-related symptom that eventually resulted in her death.
The country’s Ministry of Health has not been able to confirm whether she was infected on board the aircraft or elsewhere.
It was revealed that she had been vaccinated against measles as a child but had only received one dose which is only partially effective, reports CNN.
Her family have spoken of their grief over her death.
“Rotem was a wonderful woman and a devoted mother. We are grieving and mourning her passing before her time,” her family said in a statement.
Her employer has also expressed its sadness over her passing and says it is taking steps to ensure that all employees are fully vaccinated against measles.
“El Al mourns the death of a member of the airline’s flight crew. We have taken steps to have our air crews inoculated,” the airline said in a statement.
“We extend our deepest condolences to the bereaved family and will continue to stand by them.”
Outbreaks of the virus, although rare in Western nations, have been surging in recent years.
Measles vaccination rates are still at unsafe levels with 600,000 children having missed their jab in the last eight years.
Almost 600,000 children did not receive their first measles dose in the UK between 2010 and 2018.
About 1 out of every 1,000 children who gets measles will develop encephalitis, according to the the US Centre for Disease Control.
This could lead to life-long intellectual or hearing disabilities and is often fatal in youngsters.