American Samoa declares public health emergency following measles outbreak

American Samoa has declared a public health emergency following an outbreak of measles, forcing the territory’s Department of Education to close all schools until at least May 12, sending 12,000 students home.

The emergency declaration signed by Governor Lemanu PS Mauga on Monday is expected to last 30 days and expire May 24, according to ABC News.

According to a notice from the US Department of Health Samoa (ASDH), there has been one lab-confirmed case of measles and 31 suspected/probable cases of the highly contagious disease, including hospitalized and ineligible children under 6 months of age. for measles vaccine.

ASDH ordered those who tested positive to self-isolate for 21 days, and said residents who may have been exposed could be asked to self-quarantine for the same amount of time.

American Samoa experienced a similar measles outbreak in 2019 that lasted 43 days, according to a World Health Organization report. During the duration of the public health emergency, authorities reported twelve cases of measles and no deaths.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Falling vaccination rates have raised fears of a resurgence of measles among vulnerable populations. Ohio and Minnesota have had measles outbreaks in the past year.

ASDH also shared a social media post detailing several health clinics, churches and community halls that offer the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine to residents aged 6 months or older.

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