Publicado: Vie, Noviembre 29, 2019
Salud | Por Gertrudes Rodriquez

Measles outbreak: Waitematā nurses head to Samoa

Measles outbreak: Waitematā nurses head to Samoa

Despite mass immunisation efforts the death toll in Samoa is now at 39, with the majority of those dead under 4 years old.

Auckland nurses are flying to Samoa to help fight the measles epidemic, which has killed 39 people.

Measles is caused by a virus and can lead to serious complications including pneumonia and inflammation of the brain that can do permanent damage and be deadly, especially in small children.

In 2018, only 31 percent of children under five had been immunised, she said.

Dr Scott Wilson is part of a small team of New Zealanders assisting during the outbreak.

"When measles enters a country like that, there is a huge group of people who are not immune", she said.

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This resulted in the temporary suspension of the country's immunization program and dented parents' trust in the vaccine, even though it later turned out the deaths were caused when other medicines were incorrectly administered.

Misinformation about the safety of vaccines, she said, "has had a very remarkable impact on the immunisation programme" in Samoa.

The Samoan Government has confirmed infection rates have climed more than 200 cases every day for the past three days.

Apia's main hospital, which normally has just four beds in its intensive care unit, now has 14 children on ventilators, Norton said, stressing that this poses "a huge, huge burden".

The outbreak has prompted global support, including a team of New Zealand medical staff who flew over to help local doctors.

On Friday, there had been 2936 measles cases reported since the outbreak began, with 250 cases recorded in the past 24 hours.

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