Doctor among the first patients of measles outbreak

A medical doctor was among people who were diagnosed with measles but has recovered from the virus.

Ministry of Health (M.O.H.) Deputy Director General, Tagaloa Dr. Robert Thomsen, confirmed reports received by the Samoa Observer of hospital staff including a doctor being infected with measles.

"That's old news, it's just a doctor and he has already recovered," he said, when asked by this newspaper.

The Ministry's Director General, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri, was not able to provide an update on the epidemic.

When he was contacted, he asked this newspaper to call the Tupua Tamasese Meaole (T.T.M.) National Hospital.

Staff at the T.T.M. hospital, who did not want to be identified when contacted, said measles cases reported to the hospital are increasing on a daily basis. 

The hospital is only admitting severe cases, "those who are unable to eat or drink", the staff added. 

Tagaloa also confirmed efforts by the M.O.H. to ensure their staff were protected against the virus with their workforce getting immunised.

However, he could provide not provide an update on the epidemic when he was queried, saying he was outside the office.

When pressed to confirm T.T.M. hospital staff reports that there was an increase in new cases, he said: "I can't really say anything at the moment because I am quite busy."

"I cannot give you that information because I am out of the office, [and] I cannot give you a guess.

"You'll have to be patient for when we check the numbers, we will put out another release to inform everyone."

Tagaloa said an official statement from the Ministry shall be released Monday afternoon.

It is believed measles was brought into Samoa by a New Zealand-based individual who attended a church conference, who only discovered his condition upon his return home, leading to authorities being alerted. 

The incubation period of the virus before one realises he or she has measles is about 14 days. Symptoms of the illness include fever, cough, runny nose, sore and watery 'pink eyes' and a rash.

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