• Live
    • Audio Only
  • google plus
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • The total number of cases was 4,693, with 229 people currently in hospital, including 16 critically ill children.

    The total number of cases was 4,693, with 229 people currently in hospital, including 16 critically ill children. | Photo: Reuters

Published 8 December 2019
Opinion

The country is still under a state of emergency with all schools closed and no one under the age of 19 allowed to attend public gatherings.

The death toll from a raging measles epidemic in Samoa reached 70 Sunday, with most of the victims being children as the outbreak continues to spread.

RELATED: 

Unicef: 4,000 Killed by Measles Epidemic in DRC This Year

After a mass immunization action last week that saw the entire South Pacific island under a curfew for two days, official figures showed there were 112 new cases in the 24 hours to Monday morning.

The country is still under a state of emergency with all schools closed and no one under the age of 19 allowed to attend public gatherings.

The government said on Saturday that the mobile vaccination teams had succeeded to provide 90 percent of the 200,000-strong population with the measles vaccine, up from about 30 percent when the pandemic started in mid-October. However, as the vaccine needs as long as two weeks to take effect, it is too early to say whether the outbreak has peaked.

More than 4,000 in Samoa have been infected so far, with 229 people currently in hospital, including 16 critically ill children.

Young children are the most vulnerable to the virus, which typically causes fever, cough, runny nose, inflamed eyes, but can also damage the brain and lead to death. Among the 70 dead, 61 are children aged four or under.

Health authorities accused anti-vaxxers of broadcasting misinformation and conspiracy theories for the low immunization rate that left Samoa's children so exposed to the measles outbreak.

Samoa's measles vaccination rate dropped from 59 percent in 2017 to 31 percent in 2018, according to the World Health Organization and to UNICEF, "largely due to misinformation and mistrust among parents."

Outbreaks elsewhere in the Pacific, including Tonga, Fiji, and American Samoa, have been easier to contain thanks to higher immunization rates, with no deaths reported.

Comment
0
Comments
Post with no comments.