Israel battles measles outbreak as infant dies of disease

November 1, 2018 GMT

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel is grappling with one of its worst measles outbreak in decades, with over 1,200 cases reported since the beginning of 2018.

Israeli media reported Thursday that an 18-month-old baby died of complications of the disease at a Jerusalem hospital, the country’s first death from measles since 2003. The child was not vaccinated.

The outbreak comes as the World Health Organization has reported tens of thousands of measles cases across Europe.

Measles is a highly contagious disease and one of the leading causes of death worldwide in young children, according to the World Health Organization. It is easily prevented with a vaccine.

In Israel, several ultra-Orthodox Jewish sects oppose vaccination, and the Health Ministry has stepped up a campaign to increase vaccination rates in unprotected communities in recent months.