Samoa Measles Death Toll Rises to 73
At least 73 people, mostly children, have died in Samoa so far due to a measles epidemic since last month, the DPA said, citing the Pacific government.
According to the latest data from the Samoan Ministry of Health Monday morning, 5267 measles cases have been reported since the outbreak of the epidemic.
As of December 15, 93 percent of the population had been vaccinated as a result of the vaccination campaign. Authorities have asked non-vaccinated residents to hang red flags on their homes to facilitate the campaign.
Authorities declared a state of emergency in mid-November and closed schools and universities. All residents under the age of 19 are prohibited from attending public meetings.
According to New Zealand radio RNZ, the measles epidemic is thought to have started from New Zealand, but so far has affected other countries, including Fiji and Tonga. Samoa was the most affected due to a low vaccination rate of between 28% and 40%, according to UNICEF.
Earlier this month, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that measles outbreaks were reported in all regions of the world. The WHO reported 413,000 cases by early November, up from 353,000 last year. According to the organization, the reason is the insufficient vaccination rate in the poorest countries.
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