Measles death toll in Samoa rises to 81

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SUVA–The Samoan government confirmed one more death in the island nation's measles epidemic on Thursday, bringing the death toll to 81 since the measles outbreak started in mid-October.

According to Samoa Observer newspaper on Thursday, the Samoan Ministry of Health said the death of a child under five years old was reported in the last 24 hours, bringing the total death of measles to 81, mostly of children under five years old.

The ministry said that a total of 5,612 measles cases have been recorded by the Disease Surveillance Team so far, with just nine cases reported in the last 24 hours.

Currently, a total of 43 people, 10 of them are in critical condition, are hospitalized with measles in the island nation.

As of Wednesday, about 95 percent of all eligible people in Samoa have been vaccinated against measles. Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that is transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected persons. Death may occur in up to 5-10 percent of infected young children in developing countries.

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