Samoa
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Suspected Measles Case Isolated at Motootua Hospital

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – 07 MARCH 2023: An 11 year old infant suspected of measles is currently admitted at the Motootua hospital while samples are sent to New Zealand for testing to confirm if it is measles.

The young child was admitted to the hospital in the weekend with two other young children who were also suspected and were placed in isolation at the Pediatric Unit at Motootua hospital.

The Director of Health, Aiono Dr. Alec Ekeroma confirmed the samples being sent to New Zealand and that two other samples sent earlier had returned negative results.

When the children were admitted, security tightened around the Pediatric Unit to monitor the flow of people in and out of the unit.

Last week the Ministry of Health urged all parents to ensure their children have their Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) injections incase of another measles outbreak.

The Ministry stated that there was a high risk of another measles outbreak due to recent cases in New Zealand and Australia.

“With unrestricted travel and open borders, we are at high risk for another measles outbreak,” said the Ministry.

Measles red flags
Measles red flags

Images from the 2019 mass vaccination campaign with families hanging red flags to indicate they have people who need to be vaccinated.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health is pushing the Mumps Measles and Rubella vaccination around the country.

The Director of Health, Aiono Dr. Alec Ekeroma said overtime payment have been approved for staff to work overtime and Saturdays on the vaccination campaign.

He said it’s been three weeks since the MMR immunization campaign started and they have reached 85% of babies with the first dosage.

The second dosage is only at 45 percent coverage and Aiono urged parents to push for their children to be fully vaccinated with both doses.

“We hope to reach 80 percent coverage with the second dose by June,” he added.

The Ministry is urging parents that if they are unsure of their children’s immunization status, then visit the nearest hospital for information.

Samoa lost 98 children to the measles outbreak in 2019, and the Ministry is ensuring precautions are taken before and not after.

Meanwhile, the latest test results are expected next week.