29 Nov 2019

Measles epidemic: Samoa's death toll rises to 42

1:52 pm on 29 November 2019

There have been three more measles-related deaths in Samoa, taking the toll to 42 since the outbreak began in October.

Samoa's Ministry of Health Headquarters.

Samoa's Ministry of Health Headquarters. Photo: RNZ Pacific / Dominic Godfrey

The government said there had also been 3149 measles confirmed cases of the disease, more than 200 of those in the last 24 hours.

Nearly 200 people are currently hospitalised with measles, including 20 critically ill children in intensive care.

A mass vaccination campaign is underway with dozens of New Zealand and Australian nurses in Samoa to assist.

Samoa's top health official has said the epidemic is yet to peak.

Meanwhile, New Zealand will be sending more medical staff and supplies to help Samoa tackle its measles outbreak, including another 100,000 vaccinations.

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said the latest support package included more medical staff and a machine to support oxygen production.

Among the medical team will be up to 15 intensive care specialists, as well as additional Samoan-speaking doctors and nurses.

New Zealand was also looking to provide psychological support for health workers in Samoa, he said.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs