Uman – Last winter a drastic increase in measles cases was documented both in Israel and the United States. According to information that was received by the Health Ministries in both Israel and the United States the disease was spread by those who contracted the disease during their stay in Rosh Hashanah in Uman visiting the gravesite of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov.
Additionally, two workers in the Oxford Medical clinic that was working in Uman last year, and this year will be run in partnership with United Hatzalah contracted measles while they were in Uman. After they returned to Israel it was discovered that they had contracted the disease and brought it back with them to Israel.
It was also reported that the head of the Breslov Institutions in Tzefat (Safed) was hospitalized last year after he too contracted the disease while he was in Uman for Rosh Hashanah. Rabbi Koenig was hospitalized in Rambam Medical Center in Haifa and was in serious condition.
Rabbi Yisrael Klein who heads the medical clinic in Uman also contracted the measles during his work at the clinic helping the thousands of people who had medical emergencies during the holiday last year, asked the public to vaccinate against the measles prior to their arrival in the city.
As the area around Uman has also seen an outbreak of measles in recent months Israel’s Health Ministry has also asked the public to vaccinate against the measles before heading to Ukraine for the holiday. “People born in 1957 and onwards should have both measles vaccinations prior to their departure for Uman. Children over six months of age traveling abroad should receive at least one dose of the vaccine before traveling.”
President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer also asked the public to vaccinate in order to avoid endangering others. “It is the protocol that all first responders involved in our organization must be fully vaccinated against the measles. However, with the thousands of visitors to the city of Uman over the holiday, I urge everyone to take upon themselves the responsibility of vaccinating before they come so as not to risk the lives of the other participants or their families when they return home. The outbreak of measles in New York and Israel, which both have been traced in part to people who spent the holiday in Uman in recent years has already cost the Jewish people dearly. It would be a tragedy that if someone who only wants to spend the holiday visiting the grave of Rebbe Nachman would be responsible for the avoidable death of innocent people.”