A 43-year-old flight attendant from Israel who contracted measles lost her battle with the disease after she got infected by the disease. According to reports in CNN, Rotem Amitai had travelled from New York to Tel Aviv in March, and soon developed a fever. She soon developed encephalitis and then fell into a coma. Shortly afterwards, the mother of three succumbed to the illness. Her death has focused attention back on anti-vaxxers who were blamed for the deadly measles outbreak in New York a few months ago. New York City Measles Outbreak: Health Emergency Declared, Anti-Vax Moms Sue NYC, Jews Allege Discrimination; The Story So Far.
While Rotem died of measles, it’s unclear whether she contracted the illness on the flight. Reports say that while she was vaccinated against measles once, she didn’t receive the customary booster doses. While one dose is effective, it doesn’t give complete protection against the virus that causes measles.
What is Measles?
Measles is a viral infection where a person suffers from high fever, red and inflamed eyes, runny nose and a distinct rash that spreads across the body. Caused by the paramyxovirus class of pathogens, measles affects the respiratory tract, eventually spreading to the other parts of the body. MR Vaccine: What Are Measles and Rubella? Why Parents Should Vaccinate Children Against These Diseases.
Measles can spread from mother to child through nursing or delivery. It is airborne and can infect a person through an affected person’s nasal aerosols. It can also spread through saliva and contaminated surfaces.
Commonest symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose, red and inflamed eyes, light sensitivity, sneezing, cough, rash and body ache.
Measles can cause complications such as digestive issues, ear infections, hearing loss and pneumonia. But sometimes, severe complications like encephalitis is also seen as a result of the viral infection or the body’s own inflammatory response.
Who are Anti-Vaxxers?
Anti-vaxxers or anti-vaccination activists are a group of sceptics who think vaccines contain toxins that cause more health problems than it can treat.
In 1998, the anti-vax movement gained momentum after a study connecting autism to measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccines got a lot of traction.
The study was exposed in 2011 for using fraudulent means to arrive at the conclusion, and the journal that carried it trashed the study. But the damage was already done.
The New York City Measles Outbreak
A health emergency was declared in New York after more than 300 confirmed cases of measles was recorded in the city in April, 2019. Most of the patients were children of orthodox Jews who oppose vaccines on religious grounds.
The tribe of anti-vaxxers has been growing over the years. Despite measures by WHO and international governments to check their growth, anti-vaxxers are among the 10 biggest health threats the world has been currently facing. There has been a 30 percent increase in measles cases across the world due to the rising popularity of vaccine resistance movements.