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70 die, mostly young children after measles outbreak in Samoa

A devastating measles outbreak continues to spread in Independent state of Samoa, an island nation located in the Pacific Ocean. Death toll from the epidemic climbed to 70, mostly young children. Official figures showed there were 112 new cases, despite a massive immunisation drive last week that saw the entire Pacific nation shut down for 2 days. The government said that the mobile vaccination teams had succeeded in ensuring 90 percent of the two hundred thousand strong population was immunised, up from around 30 percent when the epidemic began in mid-October. However, the vaccine takes 10-14 days to take effect, meaning it is too early to say whether the outbreak has peaked. The total number of cases was 4,693, with 229 people currently in hospital, including 16 critically ill children.