Samoa Scrambles to Contain Outbreak

Samoa’s measles outbreak has now killed 55 people—most of them children under 4—and infected over 3,800, RNZ reports.
 
The government will shut down this Thursday and Friday so officials can focus on a mass vaccination campaign to cover a population of 196,000. 58,150 had been inoculated as of Sunday, according to a Washington Post report with an accompanying video.

Measles vaccinations are now mandatory under local law and available to people aged 6 months to 60 years. Officials have issued warnings to anti-vaccination advocates pushing vitamins and “healing water” as treatments for the disease, according to RNZ.
 
“No traditional healers can cure measles,” stressed Prime Minister Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Maleilegaoi.
 
Officials suspect the outbreak began with a traveler from New Zealand and spread quickly in Samoa because of its low vaccination rate—31% before the outbreak was declared in October.

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