The government of Samoa has invoked a state of emergency as a deadly measles outbreak has shaken the island nation resulting in six deaths so far. The authorities have passed an order to close all its schools to refrain children from public gatherings. Authorities have made MMR vaccinations mandatory after declaring an emergency. The dreaded measles outbreak has spread across the pacific islands and Europe. The pacific island country has been majorly hit by measles pandemic for the last three weeks. Samoa, with a population of 20,0000 people, has recorded a low immunization rate for a very long time. Infants under the age of 2 years have been majorly stricken by the measles epidemic.
Forty percent of 716 measles cases have resulted in hospitalization due to the outbreak said, health ministry. People, who have not been vaccinated yet, now would need to get a vaccine injection at the earliest as the government has made it a mandatory legal obligation. As per health ministry officials, only two-thirds of the total population has been immunized so far, which is an alarming situation in the region. As per the records, it can turn into a worse kind of outbreak ever. Children who have lost their lives due to the epidemic have not been vaccinated. New Zealand’s foreign ministry is supposed to send 3000 vaccines and 12 nursing staff to Samoa to assist in the measles pandemic
Measles cases are consciously on the rise across the globe. In developed nations like the US, Parents are cautious to vaccinate their children against the disease due to philosophical or religious reasons. Ministry of health in Samoa said that the outbreak of measles has sparked due to the return of a squad of Tongan Rugby players from New Zealand, who was carrying the measles virus. Around 251 cases of measles have been diagnosed since then. According to UNICEF and the World Health Organization, the immunization rate in infants has decreased from 70 percent in 2013 to 30 percent last year in Samoa. The government had stopped the immunization program last year for several months as two infants lost their lives due to a medical calamity involving a vaccine.