Published: Fri, November 29, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Samoa declares 'measles emergency' as death toll climbs to 39

Samoa declares 'measles emergency' as death toll climbs to 39

Infants aged four or under account for 38 of the deaths since the outbreak began in mid-October and the government said another 20 children were critically ill in hospital.

Furthermore, 249 additional measles cases were recorded in the last 24 hours.

Thirteen people, all civilians, have been confirmed dead and 13 others wounded as a roadside bombing struck a auto in the northern Kunduz and an explosive-borne vehicle went off in the troubled Sari Pul province on Wednesday, police said Thursday.

At least 3149 people have been infected with the deadly disease, as of yesterday afternoon.

RIO DE JANEIRO - A Brazilian court of appeals affirmed on Wednesday a guilty sentence for ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in a second corruption case. Temporary clinics have been set up across the country to provide vaccinations and treat people who are showing symptoms of measles, and nearly 45,000 people have now received the measles vaccine.

To fight the outbreak, the Samoan government has made measles vaccination a legal requirement, and Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga of American Samoa has ordered that everyone traveling from Samoa and Tonga to American Samoa have to possess proof of their measles vaccination before they can enter.

But it is the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country also battling Ebola, that has seen the largest measles outbreak.

Petousis-Harris said a distrust in the Samoan health system was one of the reasons the country had such a low vaccination rate.

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"In the case of Samoa, I think it's particularly distressing because we have such a bad crisis happening", she said.

Though the findings were concluded within a matter of days and showed the MMR vaccine powder had been mixed with expired muscle relaxant anaesthetic instead of water, that information was not released to the public for several months.

"The hospital staff have been here working long, long shifts every day since all this started", she said.

"We are walking into them at the supermarket and seeing them come back with their siblings and they are doing so much better". Once infected, there is no specific treatment for measles, so vaccination is a life-saving tool for children.

Foreign Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand is also looking to provide psychological support for health workers.

The Independent State of Samoa issued an update regarding the extensive measles outbreak rapidly spreading in this Pacific Island country.

Andrea Chapman, a Kiwi nurses, said in a statement published on November 27th "We're educating people that the vaccination takes 14 days until it is fully effective".

New Zealand would also fund 100,000 more vaccines for measles and rubella, Peters added.

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