Samoa faces acute measles outbreak that already killed 53 lives


A recent update from the government of Samoa has revealed that fifty three people in the Sovereign state have died of measles, marking the biggest outbreak. The recent outbreak has prompted the entire government to shut down due to its failure to manage the outbreak. Out of the 53 died, 48 of the were children under the age of four years. During the outbreak, the government appointed public servants to implement a mass vaccination program.

Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, the prime minister of Samoa made an official announcement that all the public and government services, except the electrical power and water authorities will shut down on December 5 and 6, 2019. Samoa has an estimated 29,000 children under the age between 6 months to four years of age and according to the official figures, more than 50 percent of the children under that age are vulnerable and are yet to be vaccinated. Till December 2, 2019 more than 3,700 cases of measles have been confirmed and 198 new cases were recorded on Sunday alone. The figure is surely shocking and worrisome.

The mass vaccination program for measles was started off on November 20, 2019 and since then 58,000 people have been vaccinated. Reports say that the outbreak started from New Zealand and the cases had started pouring in from the neighboring countries like Tonga, Fiji and Australia. There are also reports that the government of Samoa has rolled out false information on the vaccinations as it is believed that it has been the cause of the spread of the disease.

Parents in the island have been instructed to keep their children indoors and asked them to avoid taking them at crowded places including church mass, Christmas events and large public gatherings. Meanwhile, government of New Zealand and Australia have sent medical help to Samoa to help to help the local hospital which are struggling to help the input of patients with measles.

Photo Credits: BBC