No new cases for three days, as measles subsides

There have been 10 new measles cases in the last ten days while 11 people have been discharged from hospital with no new deaths since January 6, according to a new update from the Ministry of Health. 

The new infections bring the total number of cases reported during the epidemic to 5707. But there were no new cases reported over the last three days.

Tagaloa Dr. Robert Thomsen, the Deputy Director General for public health said the Ministry is keeping a close eye on the situation for “anything that pops up,” and that so far this year they have had good news.

There are currently four people in the Tupua Tamasese Meaole hospital and one person in Poutasi District hospital being treated for measles, but no patients are currently in intensive care.

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The Ministry is continuing disease surveillance and is receiving daily reports from the epidemiological team, he added.

Following the lifting of the state of emergency on December 29, Samoa is now well into the recovery phase of the epidemic response and is trying to bring the hospital system and public health sector back to normal.

The recovery efforts come after a devastating four months of the measles epidemic, the first case of which arrived on Samoan shores in late August. The first baby succumbed to the illness on White Sunday, the national children’s holiday. 

So far 83 people, mostly babies under four, have died.

In response to the epidemic, Samoa quickly passed a bill to make vaccination a prerequisite for school attendance. The Ministry of Health will give families vaccination records to provide to their schools.

When children return to class on the January 27, some will be returning without their classmates, while others will be starting school for the first time without their peers. 

The Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture took steps to help curb the spread of disease last year by closing preschools and then all schools early, cancelling or postponing exams and graduation ceremonies and prize giving ceremonies. 

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