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El Al Flight Attendant Gets Measles On Flight From New York To Tel Aviv

A flight attendant for El Al, Israel’s national carrier, was hospitalized with measles Wednesday after contracting the disease on a flight from New York to Tel Aviv last week, the Times of Israel reported.

The woman, who news reports said had been vaccinated, is unconscious and on a respirator. Israel’s Health Ministry has warned people who took El Al Flight 002 — which departed New York’s John F. Kennedy International airport on March 26 — to seek medical care if they developed any measles symptoms, which can include a fever and a rash.

Israel has been rocked with a massive measles outbreak since last year, racking up over 3,600 cases in 2018. New York State is also seeing historic measles outbreaks among the ultra-Orthodox population, with over 214 cases recorded in Brooklyn’s Hasidic communities and over 153 in Hasidic communities in the suburban Rockland County area.

Measles vaccines are highly effective. One immunization as an infant gives a person 95% immunity, while a second, booster, dose, often administered to children from ages four to six, offers 99% immunity, according to Dr. Jennifer Lighter, a pediatric epidemiologist with New York University’s Langone hospital system.

Yeshiva World News noted in its report on the sickened El Al flight attendant that leading rabbis in Monsey, a Hasidic enclave in Rockland County, had recently signed a letter urging parents in their community to vaccinate their children.

Ari Feldman is a staff writer at the Forward. Contact him at feldman@forward.com or follow him on Twitter @aefeldman

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