Samoa's government is considering closing all schools as the country reacts to a deadly measles epidemic.
Yesterday, the Health Ministry revealed two more people are believed to have died from measles, an eight-month baby and a 37-year-old, in addition to the suspected measles-related death of a 14-month toddler.
RNZ Pacific correspondent Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia said the man and infant were both being treated in Apia's hospital when they died.
The ministry's chief executive Leausa Take Naseri was still in meetings discussing how best to respond to the outbreak but for now all pre-schools had been closed to protect under-fives from the virus, he said.
Autagavaia said a decision was now pending on nationwide school closures but it was a matter of balance.
"Because next month will be the National Exams for the Year 8, Year 12 and Year 13, they're looking at continue on having these students going to school until after their examination is done next month, and that will be it. And then there will be another decision for them to stay home until the end of the year."
Samoans were flocking to hospitals and clinics to get immunised now and the public were on high alert for the virus, he said.
A measles epidemic was declared in Samoa earlier this month, after it was spread from New Zealand where there is an outbreak in the Auckland area.
Measles vaccinations urged in CNMI
Meanwhile, health authorities in the Northern Marianas have issued reminders about the importance of vaccinations in light of the recent deaths in Samoa.
The Commonwealth Health Care Corporation said while the risk of a measles breaking out in the CNMI was low, the recent outbreaks around the Pacific and the US mainland served as a reminder to immunise on schedule.
The CHCC said measles could be prevented by getting a vaccine, which required two doses, at separate times, to be fully effective.
Aside from the outbreak in Samoa and the US mainland, the measles has also spread in the Philippines, Tonga, New Zealand and Australia.
In New Zealand, there have been close to 2000 cases of the measles while in the US mainland, there have been more than 1250 cases confirmed in 31 states this year.