Hospital (illustrative)
Hospital (illustrative)iStock

Over 4,300 Israelis contracted measles since March 2018, with one in ten requiring hospitalization due to complications, Israel Hayom reported.

Out of the 4,000 patients, as of February 2019, over 2,000 were residents of Jerusalem and its environs.

According to a study published in Clinical Microbiology and Infection, 60% of patients developed complications, the most common of which were pneumonia (41%), diarrhea (11%), and ear infections (11%). Six patients suffered neurological complications (3.7%).

Pneumonia was the most common complication among patients younger than five years of age, while those most at risk of neurological complications were patients aged 5-20.

Two patients suffered suppression of the immune system due to the disease and died due to the complication.

The research, which examined patients at Jerusalem's hospitals, found that out of 161 patients hospitalized due to measles complications, 53% were younger than five years of age, 10% were between 5-20, and 36% were over 20 years old.

One out of every eight - a full 12% - required readmission within three months.

The vast majority of patients were not vaccinated against measles, 7.5% were immunocompromised, 12% had a comorbid illness, and four were pregnant women.

Ninety percent of unvaccinated individuals will develop measles if exposed to the disease. Measles, an airborne disease, can survive in the air for up to two hours after an infected person leaves the room.

Israeli Association of Public Health Physicians Chairman Dr. Hagai Levine responded: "Adults older than 20 years old are at a higher risk of hospitalization and complications. Therefore, we must add the adult measles vaccination to the government-funded health basket, in order to protect both individuals' health and the public health."

Currently, children and their mothers can receive standard vaccinations at the Mother and Child (Tipat Halav) clinics. However, other individuals must request the vaccination from the Health Ministry and pay a fee. In addition, during shortages, vaccines were available only at the Mother and Child clinics, leaving those who cannot receive the vaccination there without access.