Samoa measles crisis: Death toll grows to 39

The death toll in Samoa related to the measles epidemic has risen to 39 - up six on Wednesday.

The latest update from the Government of Samoa is that 39 measles-related deaths had occured, with 2936 cases confirmed. Twenty of the deaths were children aged between a year and four-years-old, while 15 were aged between zero and 11 months.

There were 250 cases recorded in the last 24 hours. 

Of the total number of confirmed measles cases, 190 are currently in-patients at health facilities. So far, 849 patients have been admitted to hospital since the outbreak began, with 620 discharged.

Since the start of the Samoa Mass Vaccination Campaign on November 20, nearly 45,000 individuals have been vaccinated. The population of the island nation is just under 200,000.

Some of hospitals are running at 200-300 percent capacity due to the crisis, Dr Scott Wilson told Newshub on Monday.

"These hospitals are not designed to deal with this. The minute you get hospitals running at 200 to 300 percent capacity - I think it speaks for itself. It's incredibly serious," he said.

"There have been a few tears. We have admitted at times multiple members of the same family. At one point we had five members of the same family in here."

It's reported the disease reached the Pacific nation after someone from Auckland visited Samoa. Between January 1 and November 22 there had been 1678 confirmed cases of measles notified in the Auckland region.

On Thurday, the Auckland Regional Public Health Service also released a statement saying that it had been notified of a passenger with measles on a flight between Samoa and Auckland on November 23.

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