El Al Stewardess Dies From Measles Infection

An El Al airline plane at Ben Gurion International Airport. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

An El Al flight attendant who contracted measles on a flight in March passed away on Tuesday. Forty-three-year-old Mrs. Rotem Amitai, a”h, a mother of three, had been hospitalized for five months at Meir Hospital in Kfar Sava, where she passed away. Her levayah is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon at the regional cemetery in Emek Hefer.

She had fainted on a March 26 flight from Kennedy Airport in New York on her way to Israel. She was immediately taken to an isolated section of the plane, where she was given initial treatment. Upon landing she was taken to the hospital, where her condition gradually worsened.

In a statement, El Al said, “We bow our heads in sorrow over the death of one of our staff. The company is acting to inoculate all staff who fly on our planes. El Al will continue to act as needed according to the instructions of the Health Ministry.”

While measles rates have been declining in recent months after a scare last winter, it was important for all Israelis to pay attention to the symptoms and seek treatment immediately, said Edva Lotan, head of the Mida’at organization, which encourages education about the disease.

“We call on the Health Ministry to prevent these kinds of situations from recurring by acting preemptively. Legislation for adoption of a national policy to provide inoculations for the disease would help accomplish this,” she said.

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