Infant (illustrative)
Infant (illustrative)iStock

A ten-week-old infant has died after contracting pertussis, Israel's Health Ministry said Monday.

The infant was not vaccinated against the virus, the Ministry noted.

According to Ynet, the infant, whose mother did not receive a pertussis vaccine during pregnancy, began to show symptoms of the virus at age five weeks, and was hospitalized at age seven weeks.

All of those who were in contact with the infant were notified and preventive treatment was provided.

According to the Health Ministry, the pertussis vaccine, which comes combined with that of polio, can be given to infants as young as six weeks old.

Ynet recently reported a stark drop in the number of Jerusalem-area children receiving standard childhood vaccinations. The Health Ministry claimed that this is not actually a drop in the percentage of individuals receiving the vaccines, but rather a delay in when they receive the main vaccines.

Other experts in the health system, however, insist that the drop is real, and may have critical consequences for public health in the future. They pointed out that in 2017, 98% of Jerusalem-area children had been vaccinated with the MMRV vaccine, and that number dropped to 91.5% in 2022. At the same time, while 92.7% of children in 2017 had received the pertussis vaccine, just 78.7% had received it in 2022.