A mass vaccinations campaign is now underway.

Enlarge / A mass vaccinations campaign is now underway. (credit: Government of Samoa)

The government of Samoa will shut down for two days this week while officials try to curb a deadly measles outbreak that has sickened 3,728 and killed 53—48 of whom were children ages 0 to 4 years old.

The Pacific island nation of around 200,000 first declared an outbreak of measles on October 16. The highly contagious viral infection spread rapidly, and officials declared a state of emergency by mid-November. The outbreak has continued to flare, however. On Sunday, the government reported that there had been 198 new measles cases in the last 24 hours alone.

In response, officials there have closed schools, barred children from public gatherings, and begun an intensive vaccination campaign. Since November, the government has reported vaccinating over 58,000 people.

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