Measles outbreak sparks concern

More than 900 cases of measles have been diagnosed in Israel since August.

Doctors are warning people who have not been vaccinated against the measles to seek medical advice after two cases of the potentially fatal viral disease were diagnosed in Ra'anana last week, reports More than 900 cases of measles have been diagnosed in Israel since August last year, most of them in recent months and in the ultra-religious sector. According to the report, two Ra'anana women were diagnosed last week at separate clinics. The current outbreak in Israel is thought to be due to an ultra-Orthodox British tourist who was ill with the measles when he visited Israel last summer and who infected several unvaccinated residents in Jerusalem, from where it has spread across the country. A Clalit Health Services doctor in Ra'anana said people who had not been vaccinated against measles could become infected just by sitting next to someone with the disease. Measles is a highly infectious viral illness characterized by a high fever, a cough, an eye infection, and a rash that spreads from the face and neck to the body. It can cause numerous complications, including ear infections, lung infections, diarrhea and even meningitis, and can prove fatal, and the Health Ministry includes measles in its basket of vaccinations for children. Treatment consists of analgesics, antibiotic cream for the eye infection, and medical supervision until the virus passes. Doctors are urging anyone who has not been vaccinated and who may have been exposed to the virus to seek medical advice.