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Samoa's measles death toll rises to 76

Measles posters on display in Samoa.
Source: RNZI

Apia, SAMOA — There have now been 76 measles-related deaths since Samoa's outbreak began, the government says.

There are 126 people with measles in hospital, including 17 children in intensive care.

Forty new measles cases have been reported in the past 24 hours, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 5371.

To date, 94 percent of the population has been vaccinated.

The state of emergency in Samoa, declared due to the measles epidemic, has been extended to 29 December, 2019.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has said it was extended so as to administer vaccinations to the remaining population yet to be immunized.

Meanwhile, Fiji's Government reports there are now 23 confirmed measles cases in the country.

The latest are a 13-month-old and a 20-year-old from Saumakia Village in Naitasiri.

All 23 cases have been in the Central Division and as of today, none of the victims are hospitalised.

Since the outbreak was declared five weeks ago, about 235,000 people in Fiji have been immunised against measles.

Health officials say they are especially urging parents of children aged six months to five years of age to get their children immunised, as children under the age of five are most at risk.

Kiribati records first measles case

The Kiribati Ministry of Health has confirmed the first case of measles in the country.

The bloodwork of an 11-month-old boy from Eita village in Tarawa, who tested positive for measles, was among 16 samples that were sent to Fiji for testing and were returned on Tuesday.

The Health Ministry said the boy has received treatment and is recovering.

The Kiribati Measles Task Force is working to confirm contact-tracing and co-ordinate measures to minimise the risk of the further spread of measles in the country.