Flight Attendant With Measles Dies of Meningoencephalitis

Flight Attendant With Measles Dies of Meningoencephalitis

A flight attendant with Israel’s El Al airlines was believed to have contracted measles on a flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York to Tel Aviv on Mar. 26, 2019. Rotem Amitai, 43, developed a fever on Mar. 31 and was admitted to Meir Medical Center near Tel Aviv that same day. She had trouble breathing and was transferred to the hospital’s intensive care unit where she was placed on a respirator. Amitai fell into a coma the following week and reportedly remained unconscious for five months until she died on Aug. 13.1 2 3 4 5 6

Amitai was diagnosed with meningoencephalitis—inflammation of the brain and meninges, which are the layers of thin tissue that surround the brain and the spinal cord. It has been reported that Amitai had been given one dose of measles vaccine as a child during the 1980s.5 7 8 9 10 11

The one measles vaccination recommendation was based on the mistaken belief that one dose of live attenuated measles vaccine would reliably block infection with the wild measles virus and provide “life-long protection” against the disease. That turned out not to be true.12 In 1989 after measles outbreaks in the U.S. and around the world, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) added a second dose of measles vaccine to the childhood vaccine schedule using the combination MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine, which had been licensed for use in the United States since 1971.13

According to The Times of Israel, “Blood tests revealed that [Amitai] had been vaccinated with only one shot against measles instead of the two inoculations recommended for her age group. Consequently, El Al instructed all flight attendants at the time to get measles shots.”11

It is unclear if Amitai was given a second or perhaps even a third dose of the measles vaccine after she was diagnosed with measles, notably when she was admitted to the hospital. While meningoencephalitis is a complication associated with the measles virus, it has also been linked to the MMR vaccine, which is a live attenuated (weakened) virus vaccine.14 15 16 17 18

In April, Israel’s Health Ministry ordered all El Al crew members to receive measles vaccinations. A Health Ministry directive stated, “Due to the continued spread of measles and the exposure of air crews, we recommend that all your workers be vaccinated. Make sure that your workers receive two inoculations and place a special emphasis on the air crews that come into contact with travelers.”19

El Al set up a clinic at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv to administer the vaccinations.20

(photo source: family photo)


1 Cole B. Flight Attendant Dies After Contracting Measles on Plane from New York. Newsweek Aug. 13, 2019.
2 TOI Staff. El Al flight attendant hospitalized in serious condition with measles. The Times of Jerusalem Apr. 3, 2019.  
Zawa C. Flight Attendant Contracts Measles And Slips Into A Coma. Shared.com
Cohen E. Israeli flight attendant in coma after getting measles. CNN Apr. 17, 2019.
Ben Sales. El Al flight attendant hospitalized with serious case of measles. Arutz Shiva 7 Apr. 4, 2019.
Israel D. El Al Flight Attendant Dies 5 Months After Contracting Measles. The Jewish Express Aug. 13, 2019.
meningoencephalitis. Merriam-Webster.
Meningoencephalitis. Right Diagnosis.
Meninges. Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Cohen E. Flight attendant, mother of 3, dies after contracting measles. CNN Aug. 14, 2019.
TOI Staff. El Al flight attendant dies 4 months after contracting measles on plane from NY. The Times of Israel Aug. 13, 2019.
Fisher BL. What Is Going on with Measles? The Science and Politics of Eradicating Measles. NVIC Newsletter May 25, 2019.
Cáceres M. How Come the “Settled Science” People Keep Moving the Goalposts? The Vaccine Reaction June 6, 2019.
Hong JM, Jung KY. An adult case of mumps brainstem meningoencephalitis with a past measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccination. Korean J Intern Med June 2006; 21(2):1 54-7.
Lynn RM, Pebody R, Knowles R. Twenty years of active paediatric surveillance in the the UK and Republic of Ireland. British Paediatric Surveillance Unit of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Health Protection Agency Centre for Infections and Centre for Paediatric Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Institute of Child Health, London, UK.
Maguire HC, Begg NT, Handford SG. Meningoencephalitis associated with MMR vaccine. CDR (Lond Engl Rev) May 24, 1991; 1(6): R60-1.
 Mäkelä A, Nuorti JP, Peltola H. Neurologic Disorders After Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccination. Pediatrics November 2002; 110(5).
18 Ramsay ME, Rao M. Meningoencephalitis after measles-mumps-rubella vaccine. Arch Dis Child November 1991; 66(11): 1365.
TOI Staff. Health Ministry orders Israeli airlines to vaccinate crews against measles. The Times of Israel Apr. 22, 2019.
Oster M. El Al sets up special vaccination clinic at Ben Gurion Airport. Arutz Shiva 7 Apr. 23, 2019.

29 Responses to "Flight Attendant With Measles Dies of Meningoencephalitis"

  1. Redpill   August 15, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    My condolences to the family of this young woman. This is a tragedy. So much information is missing. My question is this in regards to the statement in the article:

    “It is unclear if Amitai was given a second or perhaps even a third dose of the measles vaccine after she was diagnosed with measles, notably when she was admitted to the hospital.”

    It’s know that the measles vaccine can cause brain swelling Encephalitis or encephalopathy. If she was given additional vaccines when he brain was already swollen that is a clear case of negligence considering all her Doctors had to do was read the package inset.

  2. BDE   August 15, 2019 at 4:42 pm

    So sad

  3. DH   August 15, 2019 at 4:43 pm

    The article states…”It is unclear if Amitai was given a second or perhaps even a third dose of the measles vaccine after she was diagnosed with measles, notably when she was admitted to the hospital.“. Why is this UNCLEAR?? Are there not hospital records which would confirm this… or are those records being sequestered???

    • Steve   August 16, 2019 at 8:39 am

      I would think this likely stems from privacy for the patient. If I were the subject of this article, only my wife would have access to my records.

  4. TES   August 15, 2019 at 5:26 pm

    She appears to have contracted the measles infection on or around 3/26, a week or two prior to the airline’s employee mandate. There seems to be no doubt that she lacked a proper/full immunity. We have a daughter, now age 22, in this exact same situation. She had only one MMR vaccine very early (~15 months), and no boosters since. This makes us want to run out & get another MMR asap!!!

    • Redpill   August 16, 2019 at 10:41 pm

      Why would you subject your daughter to a vaccine that was never safety tested before it was licensed?
      Testing was done on the MMR 7 years after it was on the market and given to millions of children. The vaccine was licensed in 1971 but the study wasn’t done until 1978. It was basically grandfathered in.

      -MMR II studies:
      According to the documents obtained by the ICAN network, MMR study showed that almost thirty percent of the children in all of the combined studies acquired upper respiratory illnesses and over twenty-one percent experienced gastrointestinal illness. This was after tracking adverse events for only ***42 days*** after injection. There were eight clinical trials that in total had 834 individuals, out of which only 342 children received the MMR vaccine. 42 days is inadequate to determine if adverse reactions will appear.

      Compare the MMR or any vaccine testing with:
      Lipitor-safety tested for 6.4 years. Enbrel-safety tested for 6.6 years.
      Lipitor & Enbrel were tested using the Gold Standard of research-a randomized double blind placebo (inert) based study using a control group. One group got the test drug-one got a saline/sugar injection or pill. The MMR vaccine was tested for ***42 days*** with several groups consisting of no more than 99 children. One group was given the MMR vaccine. The other group was give ***THE MMR VACCINE FROM A DIFFERENT MMR LOT-NOT A PLACEBO.*** So the test was testing the MMR to the MMR. This type of testing is not going to give you a valid indication of the vaccine’s safety profile. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmFX-iQA2nA&t=2850s
      Start at 48:00.

      Here is what one of the country’s leading vaccine scientist reported in 1994:
      Arch Intern Med. 1994 Aug 22;154(16):1815-20.
      Failure to reach the goal of measles elimination. Apparent paradox of measles infections in immunized persons.
      Poland GA1, Jacobson RM.
      Conclusion: The apparent paradox is that as measles immunization rates rise to high levels in a population, measles becomes a disease of immunized persons. Because of the failure rate of the vaccine and the unique transmissibility of the measles virus, the currently available measles vaccine, used in a single-dose strategy, is unlikely to completely eliminate measles. The long-term success of a two-dose strategy to eliminate measles remains to be determined.

      He posted this in 2012:
      Paper: The Re-Emergence of Measles in Developed Countries: Time to Develop the Next-Generation Measles Vaccines?
      The measles vaccine has failed, he explained two years ago in a prescient paper, “The re-emergence of measles in developed countries.” In that paper, he warned that due to factors that most haven’t noticed, measles has come back to be a serious public health threat. Poland sees the need for a major rethink, after concluding that the current measles vaccine is unlikely to ever live up to the job expected of it: “outbreaks are occurring even in highly developed countries where vaccine access, public health infrastructure, and health literacy are not significant issues. This is unexpected and a worrisome harbinger — measles outbreaks are occurring where they are least expected,” he wrote in his 2012 paper, listing the “surprising numbers of cases occurring in persons who previously received one or even two documented doses of measles-containing vaccine.” During the 1989-1991 U.S. outbreaks, 20% to 40% of those affected had received one to two doses. In a 2011 outbreak in Canada, “over 50% of the 98 individuals had received two doses of measles vaccine.”
      Dr. Gregory Poland is Professor of Medicine and founder and leader of Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group. Poland is one of the world’s most admired, most advanced thinkers in the field of vaccinology. (Poland has never said don’t get vaccinated-he just says the vaccine has failed. What sense does that make?)

  5. Richard Powers   August 15, 2019 at 5:29 pm

    Would appreciate learning if Amitai was, or was not, given a second dose of the measles vaccine after she was diagnosed and in the hospital. Certainly if she had been given it, the take-away of this story switches from “if she only would have had a second measles vaccination she may have not gotten measles and died,” to “very possibly she died because of the measles vaccination and not from the measles itself.”

  6. CAWS   August 15, 2019 at 5:35 pm

    Why would they give her a measles shot in the hospital after she already had the measles?You are never supposed to give a vaccines to a sick person. That would only have made her worse and possibly caused the meningitis.

    • Tamara   August 16, 2019 at 10:23 pm

      Exactly what I was going to say. Medical malpractice!

  7. Janice Curtin   August 15, 2019 at 5:40 pm

    If they gave her a shot while she had measles that would be disastrous. Her immune system is already activated and shots while sick put it into overdrive, and autoimmune illness.
    Our friend, age 23, was given a shingles shot while she had shingles. She contracted pancreatitis and died. Some vaccine inserts say vaccines can cause pancreatitis.

  8. Victoria Tamborino   August 15, 2019 at 6:11 pm

    interesting that they could tell that she received only one dose of the vaccine as a child, but it was “unclear” if she had received additional doses after she contracted the illness?? doesn’t seem to add up does it??

  9. Louise Gallagher   August 15, 2019 at 6:12 pm

    I am a bit confused as to whether this article is pro or con?

  10. jeanne' serrano   August 15, 2019 at 6:17 pm

    Research another excellent source of information on vaccines, by the prolific CATHERINE FROMPOVICH. However, do not be distracted by the first web site entitled “Encyclopedia of American Loons” that comes up under her name (which someone paid a lot of money for) whose intentions should be obvious if you instead ignore that site, to just first scroll down through her many web sites, and books authored over the years – that are far more convincing of TRUTH vs the CDC for being proven for omitting crucial data re: black infants 700 times more likely to come down with autism after MMR vaccines than white infants. WHY? Suggest you also research the scandal re: the CDC before being gullible enough to accept their “scare tactics” when $4 BILLION has already been paid by the CDC for their causing child casualties: link – https://thevaccinereaction.org/2019/01/over-4-billion-paid-for-vaccine-injuries-and-deaths/

    • Redpill   August 16, 2019 at 10:59 pm

      “when $4 BILLION has already been paid by the CDC for their causing child casualties”

      Correction:Compensation is paid our via the Justice dept and ultimately the American Taxpayer. WE pay for vaccine adverse reactions-not pharma or the CDC.
      How the Vaccine Court Works:

  11. Debra   August 15, 2019 at 7:30 pm

    Too bad they didn’t give her I.V vitamin C….she could have been saved with that….

  12. CindyG   August 15, 2019 at 7:44 pm

    So very sad.

    The reason it may be “unclear” as to whether or not she was given additional vaccines might be because if she got them she probably didn’t get measles from a traveler. She may have contracted it from the vaccine itself. OR if she became ill and was given doses after becoming ill, the vaccines themselves worsened everything.

    Vaccines tend to create more problems than they fix, it appears. (says the mom of vaccinated/vaccine injured children who works all the time with vaccine injury victims)…

    When we made vaccines the new god, we forgot there was a real God who designed us to naturally fight illness. If we had needed the stuff of vaccines, the original Designer would have included it in our bodies at birth.

  13. Kathleen   August 15, 2019 at 11:23 pm

    Sincerest condolences to the woman’s family, friends and co-workers.
    What puzzles me is, if the diagnosis was correct, and she actually had measles, and she was actually inoculated with a measles containing vaccine while hospitalized, what is the logic of adding more measles to her system when she already had the disease? If in Israel, like in the USA, there is no vaccine that contains only measles, only Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR), what logic would there be to add two additional viruses to an already stressed system?
    In any case, one would think logical treatment should have included gamma globulin, IV vitamin C, transfer factors targeted to fighting measles (does this exist?–it should) and other immune stimulatory substances like medicinal mushrooms or antiviral herbs like Echinacea.
    What were her immune markers like WBC including macrophages and natural killer cells, CRP, IgG and IgM, specific antibodies to various known agents, nutrient profiles like Vit. C, Vit, D, Vit. A and zinc. It is well known that individuals deficient in Vit. A are at much greater risk of complications of measles which, according to the article, was what killed her. What other pre existing conditions were present that made her unable to fight off measles. Did she also have immune suppressing mold toxins or retroviruses in her system?
    There are way too many unanswered questions in this case

  14. Michael   August 15, 2019 at 11:30 pm

    UNCLEAR is a news euphemism for “She actually had 2 or 3 vaccinations before the incident but nobody wants to say that because it would reflect negatively on our advertiser” or “She was actually vaccinated after admission and diagnosis contrary to the vaccine’s protocol (as mentioned the package insert) and we don’t want to implicate the hospital for that bad act.” Talking about this stuff in the news is a nightmare for the press and the writers – there’s almost nothing you can say that is true that won’t offend the big interests. Nobody wants to report on this stuff because it has a ‘hair trigger’ and once the wrong statements are made, the drug disinformation response is triggered and doctors are ruined, hospitals closed, airlines shut down – there are some very scary things that get triggered when you steps on the wrong invisible toes.

  15. Rebecca   August 15, 2019 at 11:56 pm

    I may be mistaken but I do not believe there is a blood test that can confirm how many measles vaccinations one has received. There would have to be a lot of assumptions made about the results of any such test.

  16. Graham   August 16, 2019 at 12:19 am

    My condolences to the family. It is especially sad when events like this occur for want of a simple remedy available to us all – Vitamin C. Not only would it have significantly alleviated and measles symptoms, it would also have prevented the Encephalitis, either from occurring or from reaching the dangerous state. Doctors are not taught about the impact of Vitamins and nutrients, and if you tell your doctor you are taking them they are generally openly contemptuous, or else they are horrified when you tell them you taking 3,000 mg every hour!

    It is the standard ‘first-call’ response in our house, and has saved both my wife and I on many occasions!

  17. drmom5   August 16, 2019 at 1:05 am

    You can’t judge a vaccine history based on current titers. Too many variables.This is a way to detect bullshit lies.

  18. C Asena   August 16, 2019 at 3:11 am

    I agree with the comments above. In addition a person with a disease should not be vaccinated as this increases the burden considerably on an already compromised system. These stories are so sad ans nothing more than being akin to the bloodletting of the past.

  19. Ingrid Kancso   August 16, 2019 at 8:44 am

    Didn’t anyone notice the article says she was 43, but the headline says 21 & shows a young girl? Click bait!

  20. Joy Metcalf   August 16, 2019 at 11:36 am

    Vitamin A has been shown to greatly lessen any measles complications. Why was she not given this safe and effective treatment?

    I’m so sad for her family and my heart goes out to them. I can only wish that she, as did all the children when I was small, had contracted measles as a child, when it’s rather innocuous, and would have provided true lifetime immunity. I never knew of anyone that had complications from any of the childhood diseases. Now vaccines are big business, and health doesn’t count.

  21. Mary   August 16, 2019 at 11:38 am

    Clearly the measles vaccine she got after being diagnosed with measles was the wrong call.

  22. Nathalie   August 16, 2019 at 2:36 pm

    as many already did I want to offer my sincere condolences to the family of this young woman who really should not have passed away this young in this day and age from such a disease.
    After reading all the comments, I did a little more research on what was reported by other news outfit, and really the results are appalling. the reports are inconsistent and full of inaccuracies most likely and all for the purpose of supporting massive vaccine program on measles. as somewhat stated earlier I understand that reporters may be tied to rules but then what is the purpose of the press (free?) if not reporting facts completely and in an unbiased manner. Supporting massive vaccinations is biased.
    Anyway, the Washington post reported that after investigation, no one on the flight where the attendant apparently contracted Measles actually had any or later develop any symptoms or full blown measles! so where did she actually contracted the disease??? Also from what is reported only less than 5 days elapsed between the flight and her admission to the hospital because of severe symptoms! this is really odd as well as the incubation period for measles is typically at least 7 days and up to 14 days before symptoms arise.
    It is shameful that a family tragedy is being used as a propaganda for vaccines instead of explaining to the world the facts and dangers of vaccines.

  23. Sally   August 16, 2019 at 4:13 pm

    As a research nurse and legal nurse consultant I look at this incident from a different prospective. If this article was written to expose the problems surrounding the use of MMR vaccine, then is it positive or negative. I look at the case, which starts with the medical records. A simple case of measles is not deadly unless the patient’s immune system was compromised. When this change in the immune system occurred is the answer to this case. An MMR vaccination in childhood will not prevent a case of measles as an adult, and immunizations at the time of illness will definitely alter the natural immune response particularly with a live attenuated virus. If we truly want the truth about what has happened, then some toes may be injured in the process of finding it. Look closely at the medical records, it’s not to place blame, it’s to find the truth.

  24. K   August 17, 2019 at 12:44 am

    Liars!! Why even bother publishing this information? Even when 1 out of 2 people is sick with measles and is up to date on their vaccines, they will STILL find a way to plug vaccines, vaccinate some more, and blame someONE or someTHING else for all the sicknesses and deaths!!!

  25. jeanette primost   August 17, 2019 at 1:15 am

    I have information that she contracted a super bug in the hospital. This was on a news show here in Israel. Tragic story and made worse by “fishy” reporting!


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