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Samoan family in New Zealand mourns deaths of two children from suspected measles

Posters warning about measles in Samoa.
Source: RNZI

Apia, SAMOA — The Samoan family of a two-year-old boy, who died of suspected measles a week ago, is now also mourning the death of his one-year-old sister, who is also thought to have died from the virus.

The family held a double burial on Saturday for the siblings, who first went to Apia's hospital for a measles check eight days ago, the Samoa Observer reports.

The one-year-old has a twin, who is now the sole remaining child of a couple from Lauli'i - a coastal village outside Apia on the island of Upolu.

Last week, the Health Ministry's Public Health specialist said the two-year-old boy's clinical file was being reviewed to assess his cause of death but it was thought to be related to the measles virus.

The Ministry of Health has been approached for confirmation of this latest death.

The number of total suspected measles cases in Samoa with the current outbreak is 513, with results still pending from an Australian laboratory regarding the recent deaths of two infants and an adult male, who showed clinical signs of the disease.

Vaccination and quarantining as well as infection control measures at the hospital are all being coordinated by the ministry which is working closely with the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, the New Zealand government and an Australian medical laboratory to contain the epidemic.

A measles epidemic was declared in Samoa last month.


Six people in Fiji have been quarantined in their homes as authorities contend with the Pacific's latest measles outbreak.

The families in the Serua/Namosi subdivision, near Suva, have been isolated since the outbreak was confirmed four days ago, the Fiji Times reports.

One of them, Nancy Patricia, told the newspaper that she had been placed on medication and told not to leave her house since she was discharged from hospital.

Authorities are conducting a vaccination drive in the surrounding area, and are urging any travellers to get immunised before they leave the country.

The government said there had been no new cases since three instances of measles were confirmed last week.