Israel’s Measles Outbreak Reaches 1,401

Jerusalem remains Israel’s measles hotspot with 838 confirmed cases during 2018
sunrise over Jerusalem
Israel (Vax Before Travel)

The Health Ministry of the State of Israel announced during a meeting on November 6, 2018, that there were 735 measles cases confirmed during the month of October.   

And, the total number of measles cases confirmed by the Health Ministry for 2018 is 1,401. 

Moreover, Jerusalem has reported 838 measles cases during 2018.

During the November 6th meeting, Mrs. Ilana Cohen, Chairperson of the Israel Nurses Association, and Mr. Avi Nissankorn, the Histadrut Chairman, decided that ‘all nurses in all health bureaus and family healthcare centers will continue to vaccinate against measles, including all necessary activities to diagnose and prevent the spread of the disease.’ 

Moreover, Deputy Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman added ‘that the ministry has allocated all of the financial resources needed to stop the disease from spreading further.’

Specifically, the Ministry of Health decided on the following measures:

  • To extend the vaccination campaign for the prevention of measles in Jerusalem which includes keeping Tipat Halav family care centers open in the evenings as well.
  • The campaign is coordinated with the HMOs and municipal bodies. So far, the percentage of vaccination in unvaccinated "pockets" has risen from 55 percent to more than 80 percent.
  • A mobile unit designated for the vaccination of communities. The mobile unit patrols the target neighborhoods in order to vaccinate on site.
  • Coordinating with relevant elements within the communities with relatively low vaccination coverage rates.
  • Hiring new nurses and adding new nurse positions in the Jerusalem district and helping nurses with additional manpower and male/female healthcare students.
  • Restricting unvaccinated visitors' from entering sensitive departments in hospitals, such as the ward for premature babies, intensive care, oncology, and hemato-oncology.
  • Considering the issue of restricting entry to schools to unvaccinated individuals who could put the public at risk.
  • Because of the limited efficiency of the vaccine at an early age, and the necessity to repeat the vaccination at 12 months of age, it was decided to keep the age of the first vaccination as is, except in specific outbreak centers, which will be under the sole discretion of the district doctor of the Ministry of Health.

In the USA, measles outbreaks have been reported in Brooklyn and Rockland County NY. 

New York’s health department said the initial measles cases reported in New York were acquired by children on a recent visit to Israel. 

As of October 6, 2018, 142 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 25 states and the District of Columbia.     

The majority of people who got measles during 2018 were unvaccinated, said the CDC. 

“Measles can cause serious complications such as brain damage and death. This virus is highly contagious; it spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes,” said Natasha Gildersleeve, PharmD, Clinical Pharmacist, MTM and Immunization Specialist for Brookshire Grocery Company. 

“The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is the best protection against measles as it provides a lasting immunity against all strains of measles,” Gildersleeve said. 

In the USA, two approved measles vaccines are available. 

And, international travelers can request an MMR vaccination appointment at a local pharmacy at Vax-Before-Travel.

The CDC Vaccine Price List provides the private sector vaccine prices for general information. 

And, vaccine discounts can be found here. 

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.