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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Samoa has closed all its schools, banned children from public gatherings and mandated that everybody get vaccinated after declaring a state of emergency due to a measles outbreak that has so far killed six people.
For the past three weeks, the Pacific island nation of 200,000 people has been in the grip of a measles epidemic that has been exacerbated by low immunization rates.
Health authorities say most of those who have died are under the age of 2. They say there have been a total of 716 reported measles cases, and that nearly 100 people remain hospitalized with 15 in intensive care.
Samoa’s Director General of Health Leausa Take Naseri said in a news conference last week that he expects the epidemic will get worse.