Measles crisis: Holiday hotspot in lockdown as death toll rises past 50

Unasa Iuni Sapolu

There are now more than 4 000 cases of measles recorded in the island nation's deeply religious population of around 200 000.

Metlink bus drivers across the region were donning colourful shirts today to raise money for those suffering from the measles outbreak in Samoa.

The government said nearly 200 new measles cases had been recorded since Sunday, with the rate of infection showing no sign of slowing despite a compulsory mass vaccination programme.

Vaccination rates dropped following the deaths of two children who received shots mixed with muscle relaxant instead of water, due to human error, BBC News reported.

Figures from the World Health Organisation and UNICEF indicate fewer than 30 percent of Samoan infants were immunised past year.

The Prime Minister is urging everyone to participate in the mass immunization to protect against the highly contagious measles.

Words shared alongside the images stated public servants will be mobilized to help the campaign as part of the government's "initiative to eradicate the measles crisis and future outbreak that will jeopardize the safety of Samoa".


"Let us not be distracted by the promise of alternative cures", Tuilaepa said.

He added that certain issues that people should understand.

A Samoan mother Eseta Meki, who lost her two-year-old youngest son to measles said that she hoped other parents would get their children vaccinated.

He said the fatality rate in Samoa was less than two percent but had been known to reach five percent in developing countries.

Measles is a virus that initially causes a runny nose, sneezing and fever.

In patients without the vaccine and those with compromised immune systems, measles can lead to serious complications like blindness, severe diarrhea and dehydration, severe respiratory infections such as pneumonia, and encephalitis, an infection that causes brain swelling.

A couple of days later it results in a blotchy rash that begins off on the face and spreads throughout the physique.

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