50 children killed by measles in Samoa as outbreak worsens

Measles in the United States has climbed to its highest level in 25 years, closing in on 700 cases this year. (Source: MGN)
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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) -- A measles outbreak in Samoa has killed 50 children as authorities race to vaccinate the entire population.

The government of the South Pacific nation on Monday said that another five children had died within the past day as the epidemic continues to spread.

In all, 53 people have died since late October, including one adult and two teenagers older than 14. Most of those who have died have been babies and young infants, including 23 babies aged under 12 months and another 25 children aged between 1 and 4 years.

Samoa declared an emergency last month and mandated that all 200,000 people living on the island nation get vaccinated.

It says about 33,000 people were vaccinated before last month and since then another 58,000 people have been vaccinated.