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Samoa declares measles epidemic after baby dies, seven confirmed cases of disease

The Government of Samoa has declared a measles epidemic after a two-month-old boy died, believed to be from the disease.

The government said there was a total of seven confirmed cases - two adults and five children.

It comes after the baby boy was admitted to hospital on October 8 suffering febrile convulsions, cough and skin rash typical of measles associated with severe dehydration. He had not been vaccinated against measles and later died.

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Health officials may not use the word crisis, but some of those on the front lines are saying otherwise. Source: 1 NEWS

"The tragic case last week which resulted in the loss of life is a highly suspected case of measles based on clinical assessment and evaluation," a post on the government's Facebook page said.

The case is awaiting laboratory confirmation, however.

"The Ministry of Health advises and encourages the public to get vaccinated against measles," the post said, listing facilities offering the service.

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Dr Helen Petousis-Harris gave her thoughts about the measles outbreak on TVNZ 1’s Breakfast. Source: Breakfast

As well as vaccinating, it also advised people to avoid crowded areas and public gatherings, keep sick children home from school, cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, wash your hands, stay hydrated, treat any illness symptoms and seek medical advice if illness worsens.

In New Zealand, two unborn babies have died after their mothers contracted the disease. 

There has been over 1600 cases of the disease in this country.