Director General, says baby “suspected of measles” released from the hospital


The 11-month-old baby suspected to have measles in the country has been discharged from the hospital. 

This was confirmed by Director General of Health, Aiono Dr Alec Ekeroma in a brief response to questions from Radio Polynesia. 

He said the infant was discharged two days ago and is “only suspected”. However, follow-up questions with the Director General, whether contact tracing has been underway to find where the source is have not been answered. 

It’s also unclear whether tests for the baby have been sent overseas for confirmation.

Last month the Ministry of Health called on all parents with children under 5 years of age to ensure that their child has been immunized for measles mumps and rubella MMR. 

Given the recent measles case in New Zealand and Australia, with unrestricted travel and open borders, Samoa is at high risk for another measles outbreak.

In 2019 the deadly measles epidemic killed 83 people in the country which were mostly children. 

The Ministry of Health in a statement pointed out that despite ongoing immunizations there are still a significant number of children under five who have not yet completed their scheduled immunizations, especially for MMR mostly from the Apia and Northwest areas. 

Also worldwide the covid 19 pandemic has resulted in severe drops in immunization coverage for many childhood diseases including measles resulting in outbreaks in many parts of the world. 

Parents are strongly urged to bring their children to a nearby health facility as soon as possible for measles mumps and rubella MMR immunization children need 2 doses of the MMR vaccine to be considered protected and should be immunized at the age of 9 months and 15 months. 

For parents who are unsure of their child’s immunization status or if you do not have the child’s immunization record visit a health facility nearest to you or call the EPI units at the ministry of health. 

Furthermore, the Ministry points out that covid 19 is not an excuse to leave the children unprotected and we need to get back on track to protect the children through vaccination.