Measles death toll reaches 70

Another four babies and one adult have died during the last 48 hours as a result of the measles crisis.

According to the latest update from the National Emergency Operation Centre, measles cases have climbed by another 233 since the weekend.

Two deaths – one under four and one between 20 and 29 years – were recorded for the 24 hour period to Monday, joining another two babies reported on Sunday evening.

It brings the death toll to 70 breaching the predicted death toll computed by University of Auckland engineers with no signs of slowing down, and a total 4,693 measles case reported so far.

In Samoa’s Hospitals there are 159 inpatients being treated with measles, 16 of which are children in the intensive care unit. 120 are in Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital, and 22 are in Leulumoega Hospital. There are ten hospitalisations across Savaii.

M.O.H reports 84 per cent of a total 1,477 patients have been discharged so far.

Under four year olds continue to be the hardest hit by the disease with 35 new admissions on Sunday and 38 on Monday. In total, they account for more than half of all measles cases with 1,528 reported cases all up.

Since Saturday, the population has reportedly been vaccinated by another one per cent, bringing the entire immunity level to 90 per cent.

The youngest cohort, children six months to four years, remain the lowest covered group at just 85 per cent, a whole ten points away from the World Health Organisation target for herd immunity.

But the targeted vulnerable group of child-bearing aged women (20 to 35) have been vaccinated at rates exceeding the Ministry’s expectations.

They report coverage rates of 105 per cent, with 1,077 more women than expected getting their measles shot over the last week.

Guided by the 2016 census, the target group was slightly smaller than the real number of women in that age group, the Ministry stated.

But coverage rates are still preliminary, and the counts are being verified by M.O.H.

The World Health Organisation representative in Samoa, Dr. Rasul Baghirov said given the two or three week time period for the vaccination to build immunity, newly vaccinated people should continue taking extra precautions not to contract measles.

Isolating young children from potential exposure and avoiding large public gatherings is essential.

The Orders of State of Emergency remain in place until at least Monday. Children under 19-years-old are not permitted to attend public gatherings, nor visit the hospital if not requiring treatment.

Vaccination remains mandatory.

Pregnant women are asked to remain home and not attend work, and there may be only one adult guardian with any sick patient in any hospital.

On Monday, the Government issued a reminder of the State of Emergency Orders, adding there have been “numerous reports of children being seen in public gatherings.”

The latest update: 

The Ministry of Health confirms a total of 4,693 measles cases have been reported to the Disease Surveillance Team, since the outbreak started.  There were 112 recorded in the last 24 hours.   


There are currently 159 measles cases who are in-patients at all health facilities.  Of this, 120 are at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital (TTMH), at Poutasi District Hospital, 2 at Lalomanu DH, 24 at the Leulumoega Rural District Hospital, 3 at the Malietoa Tanumafili II Hospital (MTIIH) 5 at Foailalo DH, 1 Sataua DH and 1 at Safotu District Hospital.  Admissions include 16 critically ill children in ICU/HDU and 2 pregnant women at TTMH.


The total number of measles cases admitted to all hospitals recorded for the outbreak to date is 1,477.  Of that, 1,248 (84%) patients have been discharged. Recovery rate remains the same since the last update.


To date, 70 measles related deaths have been recorded, with 2 fatalities in the last 24 hours.


A breakdown of the statistics is as follows:


Age group

Measles cases last 24 hours

Total measles cases

Total measles related deaths

0-5 months




6-11 months




1-4 years




5-9 years




10-14 years




15-19 years




20-29 years




30-39 years




40-49 years




50+ years




missing age








* Table subject to update as new data becomes available



As of December 8th, 2019, approximately 90% of all eligible people in Samoa have been vaccinated against measles.

 The estimated vaccination coverage in both Upolu and Savaii are:

  1. 85% of the targeted infants and children aged 6 months to 4 years old
  2. 96% of the targeted children aged 5 to 19 years old
  3. 105% of the targeted women aged 20 to 35 years old
  4. 86% of the targeted remaining population in Samoa


NEOC continues to be the focal point providing collaboration and operational coordination amongst all stakeholders, with advice and technical guidance from MOH for the duration of the Emergency Period.

 Please direct all enquiries to the National Emergency Operation Center (NEOC) on telephone number 997, and 911 for Emergencies.  

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