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Flight Attendant Who Works For Israel Airline El Al In Coma After Getting Measles

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A flight attendant has slipped into a deep coma after contracting measles and developing one of the severe complications from the disease.

The woman, 43, has been diagnosed with encephalitis or inflammation of the brain, which is a potentially fatal complication that arises from measles.

Woman In Coma From Measles Virus

CNN reports that the flight attendant came down with a fever on March 31, checking into a hospital on the same day.

"She's been in a deep coma for 10 days, and we're now just hoping for the best," Dr. Itamar Grotto, associate director general of Israel's Ministry of Health, tells CNN.

The woman, who is an employee of Israel's national airline El Al, was reportedly healthy before getting diagnosed with measles.

Now, the flight attendant is unable to breathe without a respirator. She's currently in intensive care at the Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba, Israel.

Grotto says that health officials believe she might have gotten the virus in Israel, New York, or even while flying between the two destinations. It's believed that she did not transfer the virus to anyone else on the flights.

Insufficient Vaccination

Both Israel and New York in the United States are experiencing measles outbreaks at present due to a number of parents who are adamant about not vaccinating their children.

While health officials believe that the flight attendant received her vaccination as a child, they also believe she only received one dose of the vaccine.

According to the CDC, one dose of the MMR vaccine is 93 percent effective against measles, while two doses of the MMR vaccine are 97 percent effective.

In the woman's case, her single dose of the vaccine did not work.

"I knew this was going to happen sooner or later," Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University and an adviser to the CDC on vaccines, explains to CNN. "We have the reintroduction of a serious viral infection with a population that's withholding the vaccine from their children, and now it's spreading beyond that population."

For now, vaccination remains the safest, most effective method to prevent getting sick from measles and the various conditions linked to it.

One out of every 1,000 child who gets measles goes on to develop encephalitis, which can lead to convulsions, deafness, intellectual disability, or even death, according to the CDC. One or two out of every 1,000 child who get measles die from the virus.

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