El Al flight attendant dies after contracting measles on flight

Tests revealed that she had been vaccinated with only one shot against measles instead of the recommended two vaccines, media reports say.

Rotem Amitai (photo credit: COURTESY OF AMITAI FAMILY)
Rotem Amitai
Rotem Amitai, a 43-year-old female El Al flight attendant, died in a hospital on Tuesday, five months after contracting measles from a passenger on a flight from New York to Tel Aviv in March.
Several days after returning to Israel, the mother of three was hospitalized and later entered a coma with suspected brain damage.
Tests revealed that she had been vaccinated against measles with only one shot instead of the recommended two vaccinations, according to local reports.
“Rotem was a wonderful woman and a devoted mother,” her family said. “We are grieving and hurting from her premature passing.”
Amitai became sick after coming into contact with an infected passenger on the LY 002 flight that departed New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on March 26, and landed in Tel Aviv on March 27.
She died Tuesday at Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus in Petah Tikva following a severe deterioration in her condition.
“El Al bows its head in mourning following the death of one of the company’s flight crew,” a statement from the airline said. “Once the case became known, the company worked to vaccinate all the company’s air crews. The company will continue to act on the issue in accordance with the Health Ministry’s guidelines. The company sends its condolences to the deeply grieving family and will continue to accompany them.”
Between March 2018 and May 2019, more than 4,250 people were infected with measles in Israel, according to Health Ministry statistics.
The disease, the ministry says, was brought into Israel by a small number of foreign visitors, following which it spread among the country’s unvaccinated population.