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Samoa shutting down all services as death toll rises

04 December 2019

Words shared alongside the images stated public servants will be mobilized to help the campaign as part of the government's "initiative to eradicate the measles crisis and future outbreak that will jeopardize the safety of Samoa".

A New Zealand newspaper has caused anger for publishing cartoons that make light of the crisis engulfing measles Samoa, which has killed 55 people so far, majority children under the age of four.

The death toll is at 60, and 171 new cases have been reported in the past 24 hours.

Samoa declared a state of emergency in November to fight the outbreak and vaccinations at the moment are obligatory.

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The numbers are higher for older children and adult women.

The total number of measles cases admitted to all hospitals recorded for the outbreak to date is 1,178.

Figures from the World Health Organisation and UNICEF indicate fewer than 30 percent of Samoan infants were immunised previous year.

"Our children and people will never be immune to a future epidemic unless we have vaccination coverage of nearly 100 percent", Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said during a hospital visit on Monday.

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On Monday, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi delivered a state address during which he gave his condolences to those who had lost loved ones to the virus. As a result, many countries, even wealthy ones, such as the United States and Germany, have reported measles outbreaks. First, he said that vaccination is the only cure for the outbreak if patients are treated early, full recovery should be expected, and no traditional healers or Kangen water preparations can cure measles.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that is normally transmitted through fluids in the respiratory system.

He said the fatality rate in Samoa was less than two percent but had been known to reach five percent in developing countries. After several days, a rash develops that starts from the face and upper neck, and slowly spreads downwards.

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Samoa shutting down all services as death toll rises