Rising death toll in Samoa measles outbreak

Samoa beach

Samoa remains in the grip of a measles crisis, with 22 deaths now confirmed, according to local reports.

The death toll could rise further, with 11 children reported critically ill from the disease in the Pacific island nation.

The Samoa Observer said on Friday two people had died from measles in the past 24 hours.

The deaths are from 1797 measles cases that have been recorded since the outbreak started.

All schools in Samoa have closed and children were banned from public gatherings after the Government declared a state of emergency.

Last week, New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that their government would be sending measles vaccines and nurses to Samoa to aid in the outbreak.

New Zealand had already responded to earlier requests from Samoa for medical supplies, including face masks, gowns, hand sanitiser and stretcher-beds.

Samoa, officially the Independent State of Samoa and, until 4 July 1997, known as Western Samoa, is a Sovereign state consisting of two main islands, Savai’i and Upolu, and four smaller islands. The capital city is Apia.

Samoa on map

The country of Samoa (distinct from American Samoa) has a unique historical relationship with New Zealand, having been administered by New Zealand from 1914 to 1962. Notable levels of Samoan migration to New Zealand began in the 1950s. Since 2002, 1,100 Samoans are granted entry into New Zealand each year.

Samoa has a population of less than 200,000 people.