World Health Organization warns measles resurgent as Samoa deaths rise

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The measles epidemic in Samoa has prompted a government shutdown, with public servants enlisted to help implement the nation's mass vaccination campaign. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the majority of cases involved those who hadn't been vaccinated.

In just over two weeks, the official death toll has jumped more than ten-fold to 53 on Monday, the Samoan government said.

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.

"All our schools are closed, national exams have been postponed", said Reverend Vavatau Taufao, general secretary of the Congregation Christian Church in Samoa. Some 53 people have died as a result of the measles crisis, with 48 of them kids, the government said. Pacific Medical Association, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, China, Norway, Japan, United Nations and the United States.


Latest update: 3,728 measles cases have been reported since the outbreak with 198 recorded in the last 24 hours.

"Unfortunately the case (to) fatality rate of measles is much higher than people realize", he told Radio New Zealand.

Samoa has seen an outpouring of support from other countries and is in the process of receiving hundreds of thousands of doses of the measles vaccine from its neighbors. It was eventually determined that a completely different medication, improperly administered, had caused the deaths of the children, but by that point, many children had already gone unvaccinated and parents remained fearful. So far, 58,000 people - more than a quarter of Samoa's population - have been vaccinated, Tuilaepa said. Early past year, two children died shortly after receiving the standard vaccines that would have protected them against measles, forcing the government to pause its vaccination program in order to investigate.

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