23 Oct 2019

Measles watch: American Samoa takes precautions

4:54 pm on 23 October 2019

Health officials in American Samoa are moving to enforce a law requiring measles immunisation, and remove children from school who have missed their shots.

Measles, mumps, rubella, virus vaccine and syringe on blue background.

Photo: Sherry Yates/123RF

The Environment Division of Health said the territory was not leaving anything to chance with the current measles epidemic in neighbouring Samoa.

Parents were given the warning to step up by getting their children vaccinated after the Health Department confirmed only 62 percent of school children had received the necessary two doses of Measles Mumps and Rubella vaccine needed for adequate protection.

Meanwhile, nurses wearing masks and gloves are stationed at Tafuna Airport to check arrivals from Samoa for signs of measles.

Every passenger on the interisland vessel the Lady Naomi is being screened, with a warning anyone getting the measles virus in Samoa must seek treatment there.

Returning passengers showing symptoms of the virus such as fever, pink eyes or a rash, could expect to be quarantined and not allowed to disembark in American Samoa.

No measles cases have been confirmed in American Samoa, with surveillance starting a week ago.

Measles is very infectious and symptoms include a fever, cough, runny nose, sore and watery 'pink eyes,' and a rash.

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