Samoa Declares Measles Outbreak

Samoa confirms 7 measles cases and 1 fatality in 2019
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Oceania (Vax Before Travel)

The Samoa Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed a measles outbreak on October 16, 2019, based upon test results from the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory in Melbourne, Australia.

In a press statement on October 16, 2019, Samoa’s MOH revealed 3 new confirmed measles cases; 2 were children under 5 years of age and 1 was an adult. All patients have been treated and discharged from a hospital.

Previously, on September 30, 2019, test results confirmed 4 measles cases, with 1 fatality.

The deceased child, of 14 months of age, was admitted on the 8th with a history of febrile convulsions, cough, and skin rash typical of measles associated with severe dehydration. The Verification of Immunization status for this child revealed that he was not vaccinated against the measles virus.

The Samoa Ministry of Health advises and encourages the public to get vaccinated against measles. Vaccination against measles is available at all health facilities, including TTM Hospital Motootua and MTII Hospital Tuasivi.

The Samoa public is hereby reminded that it is important to take preventative measures to control the spread of measles, such as avoiding overcrowded living environments and engaging in public gatherings. 

Furthermore, keep children home from school if they are sick.

Caused by a highly contagious virus, measles is a disease that spreads from person to person by breathing, coughing, or sneezing. Signs and symptoms of measles include rash, high fever, and a cough, runny nose, or red, watery eyes. People can spread measles up to 4 days before and 4 days after they have a rash. 

Measles spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It is so contagious that if one person has it, up to 9 out of 10 people around him or her will also become infected if they are not protected.

Children can get measles just by being in a room where a person with measles has been, even up to two hours after that person has left. An infected person can spread measles to others even before knowing he/she has the disease—from 4 days before developing the measles rash through 4 days afterward.

For further information on measles, please contact the nearest Health facility in Samoa, Dr. Robert Thomsen on 66503, or Tevaga, Dr. Ponifasio Ponifasio on 66500, or Dr. Sarah Brown on 66723 or your healthcare provider.

Samoa is a country consisting of two main islands, Savai'i and Upolu, and has a population of 190,000 residents. Samoa is located south of the equator, about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand, in the Polynesian region of the Pacific Ocean.

American Samoa is a separate, unincorporated territory of the United States, located southeast of Samoa. As of 2019, the population of American Samoa was approximately 55,000 people. 

Previously, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has included Samoa in its June 2019 Level 1 Travel Alert regarding the ongoing spreading of the measles virus.

Additionally, the CDC updated its travel vaccination suggestions on August 2, 2019, to include the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, varicella, and the annual influenza vaccinations.

The CDC also suggests Yellow Fever, Hepatitis A, and Typhoid vaccinations for certain Samoa visitors.  

Furthermore, the US Department of State issued a low-level Travel Advisory in December 2018, saying visitors to Samoa should take normal precautions. 

International travel vaccines published by Vax-Before-Travel


Our Trust Standards: Medical Advisory Committee

Article by
Dani Reiter