American Samoa to begin mass measles vaccination this week

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa — Health officials in the U.S. territory of American Samoa say they will begin mass measles vaccinations later this week.

At a meeting Sunday, officials said the vaccinations would be given for seven days starting Friday. There are nine confirmed cases of measles in the island territory.

American Samoa Health Department Epidemiologist Dr. Aifili John Tufa says five of the island’s cases were in people who had been traveling and the others were locally transmitted.

On Friday, American Samoa officially declared a measles outbreak, a move that closed public schools Monday and prohibits gatherings in parks.

In the neighboring independent nation of Samoa, more than 60 people have died, mostly children, from the measles and more than 4,000 were infected since the outbreak started in mid-October.

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