Samoa measles epidemic worsens with 24 children now dead

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Authorities say a measles epidemic sweeping through Samoa continues to worsen with the death toll rising to 25, all but one of them young children.

The government of the South Pacific nation said Monday that more than 140 new cases of people contracting the virus have been recorded within the past day, bringing the total to about 2,200 cases since the outbreak began last month.

Samoa declared a state of emergency nine days ago, closing all its schools, banning children from public gatherings and mandating that everybody get vaccinated.

According to the government figures, those who have died include 24 children under the age of 5, 11 of whom were infants under 12 months. The other person who died was in their 30s.

Samoa has low immunization rates.

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