The death toll from a measles outbreak in Samoa has increased to 53, after five children died from the infection the day before, while authorities step up efforts to vaccinate the entire population against the deadly disease.
The government said Monday that mThe majority of deaths were those under four years, including 23 babies under 12 months. Of the total deaths, 50 involved children under 15 years.
More than 3,700 cases of measles have been recorded in the island population of approximately 200,000, with 198 new cases reported between Sunday and Monday.
Measles cases are increasing worldwide, including in rich nations such as Germany and the United States, as parents avoid immunization for philosophical or religious reasons, or fear, denied by doctors, that such vaccines can cause autism.
@samoagovt extends its vaccination age for the 2019 mass vaccination campaign.
– Government of Samoa (@samoagovt) December 1, 2019
The World Health Organization (WHO) warned in October of the devastating return of measles epidemics worldwide, as the number of reported cases increased by 300 percent in the first three months of this year.
Samoa, located halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand, declared an emergency on November 20 and ordered all 200,000 people living on the island to get vaccinated.
He says about 33,000 people were vaccinated before last month and 58,000 more have been vaccinated since then.
Schools and universities have been closed and most public meetings prohibited.
Measles, a highly contagious virus that spreads easily through coughs and sneezes, has been reported in other Pacific nations, including Tonga and Fiji, but there have been no reports of deaths in those countries, which have greater coverage. vaccination
Al Jazeera and news agencies