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Lt. Gov. Josh Green and Team Go to Samoa to Fight Measles Outbreak

December 5, 2019, 7:51 AM HST
* Updated December 5, 10:26 AM
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Lt. Gov. Josh Green pulled together a team of doctors a nurses to fight a measles outbreak in Western Samoa where there have been 62 related deaths.

Children under the age of 5 represent more than half the measles cases and over 90% of reported deaths, the Government of Samoa stated.

On Wednesday, 70 doctors and nurses hopped a 2 a.m. Hawaiian Airlines flight to assist Green and his team. The Government of Samoa stated 4,217 measles cases have been reported since the outbreak. In the last 24 hours, 165 cases have been reported.

Green, an emergency room doctor from Hawaii Island, took a team to Samoa to vaccinate as many people as possible within 48 hours. The trip was funded entirely through donations.

The Government of Samoa has ordered a complete shutdown of public services and businesses today and 6 to try and bridge the vaccination gap. Local and international emergency medical teams are working round the clock to treat a steady flow of measles cases.

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Samoa declared a state of emergency on Nov. 15. Since November 20, around 65,000 Samoans have been vaccinated through a mass vaccination campaign. There are 40 fixed vaccination sites and a growing number of mobile vaccination clinics going door-to-door.

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Officials say schools are closed and restrictions have been placed on the movements and gatherings of young people, to try to stop the spread of the disease.

The Government of Samoa attributed the outbreak to a combination of record low measles vaccine coverage in Samoa, a resurgence of the highly contagious virus in neighboring countries, and a relatively low level of information and confidence in the measles vaccine amongst the public.

 

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