Are enough Israelis vaccinated against the measles?

Measles cases still prevelant throughout the country.

July 10, 2018 17:36
2 minute read.
vaccine syringe

Vaccine syringe. (photo credit: INGIMAGE)


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Despite the Health ministry's recommendation that all Israelis be vaccinated against the measles, so far 42 cases have been reported between June and the beginning of July.

42 Israeli residents were found to have contracted measles between the beginning of June and July 4, Walla reported. Of those 42 people, 14 were from Tzfat and 11 were from Acco.

Compared to previous months, reported cases have remained consistent with a spike in March when 130 measles cases were confirmed in Israel despite there being no cases between January and March.

Between March and June 1, 62 Israeli residents have contracted the measles, according to ynet.

In May, 21 cases of measles had been confirmed. About 23 patients, a third of all those affected in Israel, are in Petah Tikva, ynet reported.

Measles is one of the most serious infectious diseases. Symptoms of measles typically appear seven to 14 days after a person is infected and can include a high fever, coughing, a runny nose, red or watery eyes and sometimes Koplik spots—tiny white spots—in the mouth which can appear two or three days after the onset of symptoms if it appears at all, the Ministry of Health wrote in an email.

Additionally, a rash breaks out three to five days after symptoms appear and begins as flat red spots on the face which can spread all over the body. The flat spots may also have small red bumps on top. As the spots spread, they may fuse together and there may also be a spike in body temperature.

According to the Ministry of Health, most of those who contract measles survive, though it can be especially serious in children under five and adults over 20. One out of 10 children will also suffer an ear infection which could result in diarrhea and permanent hearing loss. Other complications include pneumonia—five percent of children— and encephalitis in one out of 1,000 children.

Measles patients were quarantined and it is likely that one patient contracted it to begin with and infected his or her family and friends who were not vaccinated, the Ministry of Health told Walla.

The Ministry recommends that all citizens be immunized with two doses of the measles vaccine.

The vaccine "is by far the most important measure that people can take to avoid measles and its complications," they wrote in an email. While one dose is very effective, two achieve the maximum level of protection, even though some may experience a few days of fever, rash or malaise after the vaccine.

All Israeli children receive a vaccine at one year and in first grade that protects against measles as well as mumps, chicken pox and rubella, also known as German measles.

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