(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Following the death of an 18-month-old baby from the measles in Jerusalem on Thursday, another push to require vaccinations from the disease is hitting the Knesset.
The baby was rushed unconscious to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, where resuscitation efforts failed and she was pronounced dead.
Her parents were members of Neturei Karta, an extreme stream of ultra-Orthodox Judaism in the haredi neighborhood of Mea She’arim.
The baby was reportedly not vaccinated from the disease nor was she brought to the doctor for check-ups until she was taken to the hospital without a pulse on Thursday.
The baby's death was the first recorded death from measles in Israel in 15 years. The baby contracted the disease from her parents who had also not been vaccinated and had contracted the disease themselves, according to officials at Shaare Zedek.
In response to the baby’s death, MK Merav Ben-Ari (Kulanu) initiated a bill in the Knesset to immunize babies from the measles.
“What has happened is a difficult and tragic case that could have been avoided if the parents had bothered to vaccinate their daughter in time. This was an unnecessary death of a toddler who had her whole life ahead of her,” she said.
“The bill I proposed is awaiting the Health Ministry’s decision and will be brought up in committee meetings in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I call on all parents to vaccinate their children to prevent future cases like this one.” Ben-Ari said.
The Health Ministry also reiterated their call for parents to vaccinate their children to protect them from contracting the measles and other such infectious diseases.
“This is a disease that was virtually wiped off the map and suddenly it’s coming back,” the Health Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
The ministry also noted that 90% of cases caused by the measles occurred because vaccinations were not given.
The total number of measles cases nationwide stands at 1,287, most of which are in Jerusalem with 753 residents infected – and the vast majority of these cases are in ultra-orthodox families.
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, runny nose, red or watery eyes and sometimes tiny white spots in the mouth – known as Koplik spots – which may appear two or three days after the onset of symptoms, the Health Ministry said.