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Samoa government declares measles epidemic after 7 confirmed cases

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Christian Fernsby ▼ | October 16, 2019
The Samoan government declared on Wednesday that the country is now facing a measles epidemic after seven confirmed cases from samples sent to Australia for urgent testing.
Samoa hospital
Pacific   Samoa hospital
According to the Samoa Observer, the confirmation comes after the Samoan newspaper said the health authorities reported 16 suspected cases and the death of a one-year-old baby boy on Sunday.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the Samoan Ministry of Health (MOH) said 28 specimens of suspected measles cases were sent to Victorian Infectious Disease Reference Laboratory in Melbourne, Australia on Sept. 30.

The results of 12 cases were received over the weekend with four confirmed cases one adult and three children, who were treated and released without complications, according to the ministry.

Another eight samples were sent for urgent testing on Oct. 2 with three confirmed cases, including two children under the age of 5 and a 22-year-old adult.

"A total of seven confirmed cases have been reported to date. In anticipation, we now confirm a measles epidemic," the MOH said in a statement.

Public health experts warned the spread of measles to the Pacific islands was "inevitable" as the most serious outbreak in 20 years gripped New Zealand in August. More than 700 cases of measles have been recorded in Auckland this year, with more than 400 in the more deprived suburbs of south Auckland.

New Zealand's Ministry of Health was reportedly trying to contain the outbreak to stop it from spreading around the country and around the Pacific region.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that is transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected persons. Death may occur in up to 5-10 percent of infected young children in developing countries.