At least 73 people , mostly children , have died in Samoa due to a measles outbreak since November , the Pacific Island government said.

According to the latest update on Monday from the Samoan ministry of health , 5 , 267 measles cases had been reported since the outbreak of the infectious disease.

As of December 15 . 93 per cent of the population has been vaccinated , according to the health ministry.

Earlier this month , Samoa conducted a door – to – door vaccination campaign in response to a measles outbreak , with a two – day shutdown of public services , commerce and road networks.

Officials had asked unvaccinated residents to hang red flags outside their homes to help the campaign.

Since mid – November , the government has declared a state of emergency and closed schools and a university.

Anyone aged under 19 is barred from public gatherings.
According to Radio New Zealand, the measles outbreak in the Pacific is believed to have originated in New Zealand , but has now affected other countries , including Fiji and Tonga.

Samoa has been hit the hardest due to low vaccination rates , with the vaccination rate at 28 to 40 per cent , according to UNICEF.

Earlier this month , the World Health Organisation said there were measles outbreaks in all regions of the world , with the number of cases reported to the WHO above 413 , 000 by early November, compared to 353 , 000 for all of last year.

It faulted “insufficient immunisation ’’ in some of the world ’ s poorest countries for the rise.

(NAN )