Samoa measles crisis: Death toll climbs to 53

Samoa's measles crisis continues to take its toll with another five confirmed deaths in the past 24 hours.

The number of measles-related deaths in the island nation has officially reached 53.

The number of those admitted to hospital stands at 1129 - 183 of whom remain as in-patients at a health facility.

Efforts to combat the outbreak of measles, which is believed to have spread to Samoa from Auckland, have been hampered by a low turnout rate for child vaccination, a lack of medical staff and health infrastructure and alternative medical beliefs.

A New Zealand doctor working around the clock in rural Samoa to help administer vaccines told Newshub hospitals are not designed to deal with the number of people they are treating.

"The minute you get hospitals running at 200 to 300 percent capacity - I think it speaks for itself. It's incredibly serious," Dr Scott Wilson said on Monday.

On Thursday, Newshub revealed Fritz Alai'asa, an alternative healer, had been treating patients with measles with alkaline water instead of taking them to hospital.

When Newshub visited his clinic on Thursday there were large numbers of visibly unwell babies and young people - and large gatherings are banned under state of emergency rules.

While waiting to see Alai'asa, a man believed to have measles collapsed and became unresponsive.

Rather than take him immediately to hospital, Alai'asa and his team poured water over his head and neck. After this failed to revive the man, he was eventually taken to the hospital.

After Newshub's revelations, police shut his business down.