55 measles deaths in Samoa, Government to shut down
03 Décembre, 2019, 18:25 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
Fifty three people have died as a result of the measles crisis, with 48 of them children under four years old, according to a government update on Monday.
The Pacific island nation of Samoa will shut down government services for two days so that civil servants can focus on a nationwide immunization drive as the country struggles to end a measles outbreak that has claimed more than 50 lives, majority children.
None of the victims were vaccinated, according to Prime Minster Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi, CNN reported. As a result, he said, all but public utility government services will be shuttered December 5 and 6.
Officials on the Pacific island of Samoa said Monday more than 50 people, mostly children, have now died of measles - and there are almost 200 new cases. The death toll now stands at 53, and 48 of the victims were children under the age of 4.
Since the crisis began in mid-October, there have been 3,728 measles cases, accounting for nearly two percent of the population.
There have been another five deaths in Samoa's measles epidemic, bringing the toll to 53 today. Since the Mass Vaccination Campaign on 20 Nov 2019, the Ministry has successfully vaccinated 58,150 individuals.
A state of emergency was declared by the government on November 15, UNICEF said, and a mass vaccination campaign began five days later.
"Let us not be distracted by the promise of alternative cures".
Emergency measures including compulsory mass immunizations and school closures have so far done little to stop the virus spreading in a country that was particularly vulnerable to measles due to low vaccination rates of about 31 percent.
The outbreak is believed to have started in New Zealand, with cases confirmed in other neighbouring countries including Australia, Tonga, and Fiji.
Measles cases are rising worldwide, with the World Health Organization reporting that the number of cases is the highest this year since 2006.
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