170 treated at Meron Lag Ba'Omer event, fake measles rumor spreads

A rumor of a measles outbreak at the organization's clinic in Meron spread on Wednesday.

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
May 22, 2019 23:13
1 minute read.
Lag Ba'Omer celebrations in Meron May 22, 2019

Lag Ba'Omer celebrations in Meron May 22, 2019. (photo credit: KOBI RICHTER/TPS)

 
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40 people have been treated by United Hatzalah EMS personnel so far at Meron in northern Israel, where the central Lag Ba'Omer festivities occur. 

Meron is where the grave of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai is located. Festivities including bonfires take place there, celebrating the Jewish holiday of Lag Ba'Omer, a day marking multiple occurrences in Jewish history, including the death of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai.
Most of the injuries were light abrasions, contusions, people suffering from smoke inhalation, shortness of breath due to the weather, light burns and other cases.
"Hundreds of United Hatzalah volunteers from all over Israel gathered to Meron to help provide medical services to the tens of thousands of people who have arrived to celebrate the holiday," said United Hatzalah President and Founder Eli Beer in a press release. 


"Our national dispatch center has been bolstered with extra dispatchers in order to provide a faster response to the many medical emergencies that occur on Lag Ba'Omer in Meron and across the country. Our volunteers have been placed on high alert for the next 24 hours," Beer added.


A rumor of a measles outbreak at the organization's clinic in Meron spread on Wednesday.


The Health Ministry, who reportedly sent the message, confirmed that they had sent no such message, according to Beer. 


"It appears that whoever started these rumors wanted to harm the work of United Hatzalah and scare people who were celebrating at Meron into not coming to our clinic for much needed medical attention," said Beer. "The people they hurt the most are those who need help in Meron itself. This is appalling and I cannot fathom someone spreading fear to prevent a person in need of medical attention from going to receive help. This is fake news at its worst."

Julian Helmhold contributed to this report.

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