Measles claim 60 lives in Samoa

Unasa Iuni Sapolu

Unasa Iuni Sapolu

Households that haven't been vaccinated in opposition to measles within the Pacific nation of Samoa have been requested to hold a pink flag outdoors their properties to assist battle a lethal outbreak of the illness.

Metlink bus drivers across the region were donning colourful shirts today to raise money for those suffering from the measles outbreak in Samoa.

The numbers are higher for older children and adult women.

The government said some 33,000 people were vaccinated before last month and since then, another 58,000 people had been vaccinated.

In recent years, Samoa has reported nearly no cases of measles to the World Health Organization (WHO), not until October 16.

Tonga and Fiji have additionally declared states of emergency to deal with their measles outbreaks within the final month.

Despite efforts, the outbreak continued, and the number of cases ballooned.

A total of 4,052 measles cases have been reported since the outbreak started. The government, in the hopes to lessen the spread of the disease, closed schools and had barred students from attending public events.

Vaccination rates dropped following the deaths of two children who received shots mixed with muscle relaxant instead of water, due to human error, BBC News reported.

Measles can be effectively prevented by immunization.

In a state address Monday, Mr Malielegaoi told the nation not to be "distracted by the alternative cures".

"In this time of crisis, and the cruel reality of the measles epidemic, let us reflect on how we can avoid recurrence in the future", Malielegaoi said in a national address.

He added that certain issues that people should understand.

"The answer to our prayers is with us through the services of the doctors and nurses and all health personnel".

On Monday, Tuilaepa said more than 58,000 people have been vaccinated since the mass immunization campaign began on November 20.

Measles is a virus that originally causes a runny nostril, sneezing and fever.

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can sometimes lead to serious health complications, including infections of the lungs and brain.

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