Staff at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital are concerned that newborns may have been infected with measles after a 42-year-old man spent an extended amount of time in the hospital’s maternity ward, Yediot Aharonot reported.
Yoav Asif, a Tel Aviv resident and a new father, was diagnosed with measles shortly after his wife gave birth. Four days ago, he spent time in the maternity ward where his wife was hospitalized. During that time, he began to develop a fever.
Asif went home, but two days later developed a rash on his face which quickly spread to the rest of his body. When the rash appeared, his family and the children who learned in his preschool were sent to receive the MMR vaccination, which protects against measles.
The list of people who came in contact with Asif includes anyone who was in the hospital nursery, delivery room, maternity ward, and other hospital wards he visited.
Yediot Aharonot quoted Asif: “Last Wednesday I came with my wife to the hospital to give birth. I felt very tired but I figured it was just the stress of the birth, which was treated as an emergency.”
“In the morning I woke up with a rash, and I understood that something wasn’t right,” he said. “I ran to Sheba’s emergency room. They took blood and urine and placed me in quarantine. I obviously have nothing against vaccines, and I had no idea that I was sick or that I was liable to expose women and babies.”
“Measles is a disease that you can catch even if you walk into an empty room where a measles patient spent time two hours ago. It’s one of the most contagious diseases on earth.”
In a statement, Ichilov said: “The incident which occurred yesterday in the hospital was reported to the Health Ministry. The local Health Department will contact the parents of babies who were in the ward at the time, so that they can receive the appropriate immunizations. The few babies who are still hospitalized were immunized today. There is no danger to the babies, either from exposure or from the immunization. The hospital emphasizes that this incident is over and it has no impact on women currently giving birth in the hospital. In addition, the fact that the couple were in a private room, like most of the new mothers in Ichilov, significantly reduced the amount of potential exposure.”
Earlier this month, an unvaccinated new mother contracted measles, exposing Poriya Medical Center’s nursery and maternity ward to the disease.
In October, an unvaccinated father with measles visited Shaare Zedek’s NICU, exposing sixty premature infants to the deadly disease.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one in four measles patients will be hospitalized due to complications. One in twenty children who contact the disease will suffer from measles, and one in 1000 will suffer encephalitis. Ear infections, which occur in one in ten children who contract measles, can lead to permanent hearing loss.
Measles can also cause pregnant women to miscarry, give birth prematurely, or give birth to a stillborn or low birth weight baby.
As of the Ministry of Health’s last update on March 18, the number of measles cases in Israel had risen to 3,701. Since then, several more cases have been reported.
The vast majority of Israel’s measles patients were completely unvaccinated, and a handful had received a single dose.