Israeli Toddler Sick With Measles Hospitalized in Serious Condition

The girl was not vaccinated against the illness that has been sweeping across the country in recent months and is now also suffering from meningitis and pneumonia

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Ha'emek Medical Center in Afula.
Ha'emek Medical Center in Afula.Credit: Rami Shllush

A 16-month-old Israeli toddler who contracted the measles was hospitalized Wednesday in serious condition at the pediatric emergency unit of the Ha'emek Medical Center in Afula.

The girl was not vaccinated against the illness and the assessment is that she caught the measles while visiting relatives in Jerusalem.

According to the Ha'emek Medical Center, the girl is also suffering from meningitis and pneumonia that she got as a result of complications caused by the measles. Some of the girl's siblings have also caught the illness, but they are not suffering from complications. The Ha'emek Medical Center has informed the Health Ministry of the girl's hospitalization.

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Meningitis is a rare and dangerous complication of the measles and only one out 1,000 patients contract it. There are other rare complications that can materialize as late as a decade after a patient recovers from the measles. Meningitis can cause serious and irreversible damage to the central nervous system, and among the side effects that manifest in patients are sometimes cognitive decline and involuntary convulsions.

Some two weeks ago, a ten-year-old boy contracted severe meningitis that developed as a complication of the measles, and was hospitalized at the Schneider Children's Medical Center in Petah Tikva with mortal danger to his life. The boy, who lives in the West Bank settlement of Immanuel, was not inoculated against the illness.

Since the beginning of 2018, 2,300 cases of measles have been diagnosed in Israel, with 1,500 patients coming from the Jerusalem area, 250 cases identified in the northern city of Safed and 213 in Tel Aviv.

The Health Ministry is making efforts to get populations in areas where the inoculation rates are lower to vaccinate. The ministry assesses that last month the measles outbreak reached its peak and has since started to decline, after a rise that has been ongoing since last March.     

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