MOH: Samoa is at high risk for another measles outbreak


The Ministry of Health is calling 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 and was 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. 

Measles is a highly contagious virus that lives in the nose and throat mucus of an infected person and it can spread to others through coughing and sneezing.  

If other people breathe the contaminated air or touched the infected surface and then touch their eyes noses or mouths they can become infected you risk getting measles if you are not vaccinated and have vitamin a deficiency getting vaccinated with the MMR vaccine protects you from getting measles mumps and rubella.

According to the MOH sgns and symptoms of measles include fever dry cough redness or swelling in eyes or eyelids or watery eyes, sensitivity to light, running nose, sneezing, a reddish brown rash that starts from the head and spreads throughout the whole body, feeling of tiredness and body aches and loss of appetite.

Seek medical attention immediately if anyone in your household has these symptoms

Common complications from measles include ear infections which can lead to hearing loss or permanent deafness diarrhoea swelling in the brain which can lead to intellectual disability and pneumonia which is the most common cause of death due to measles. 

The ministry of health urges the public especially parents to vaccinate their children against measles and ensure that all vaccines are up to date and complete to protect from other diseases.