Samoa’s State of Emergency

The measles epidemic in Samoa has killed 25 people and infected over 2,000—most of them under age 3, the Samoa Observer reported.

Schools are closed, large gatherings banned, and vaccinations mandatory under a new medical state of emergency. Health workers are aiming to immunize everyone in the country except pregnant women.

Measles vaccination rates have plummeted from 70% in 2013 to sub-30% last year—and hospitals are ill-prepared for the surge of new cases, AP reports.

“The minute you get hospitals running at 200 to 300 percent capacity — I think it speaks for itself. It’s incredibly serious.” physician Scott Wilson told said.  

Law enforcement is on high alert for people discouraging or preventing vaccination, the Samoa Observer reported.

But some parents are turning to questionable alternative therapies peddled by local businesspeople—like spraying filtered “healing water” on sick children, ABC reports. 

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