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UK, NZ Send Medics To Samoa As Measles Outbreak Kills 53

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Measles Toll In Congo Exceeds 5,000, WHO Says 

Death toll has risen to 53 in Samoa as the pacific island battles a measles outbreak that has called for a state of emergency as schools were and the island is restricting travel ahead of the Christmas holiday season.

A significant drop in immunization over the last few years has made Samoa highly vulnerable to outbreaks of disease, with the World Health Organization (WHO) saying vaccine coverage is about 31 percent on the island. The Samoan government said the official death toll has jumped more than 10-fold to 53 on Monday.

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Schools have been closed and a mass vaccination effort launched in the country, the government says 50,068 people have been vaccinated.

Samoa Prime Minister’s Office press secretary, Nanai Laveitiga Tuiletufuga told Al Jazeera “five children died overnight,” adding that among the 53 persons who died “50 were children under the age of 15 while 23 were babies aged less than one year old … In the last 24 hours a further 198 cases have also been confirmed by the Ministry of Health.”

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More countries have flown medical staff and supplies to Samoa to battle a measles outbreak that prompted the Pacific island to declare a state of emergency this month.

The United Kingdom said a group of British doctors and nurses left on Friday to help Samoa’s efforts to rein in the outbreak while neighbouring New Zealand said it was sending more supplies and personnel, including emergency medical assistance teams.

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The health ministry confirmed 3,728 cases of measles have been reported in the outbreak.

Measles is caused by a highly contagious virus that spreads easily through coughing and sneezing.

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Rwanda Begins Vaccinating Against Ebola At Border With DR Congo

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Rwanda Begins Vaccinating Against Ebola At Border With DR Congo

Rwanda says it has began its first large-scale vaccination campaign against the Ebola virus in areas bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo. At least 200,000 persons are targeted in the campaign over the next year.

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At the weekend, Rwanda’s health minister Diane Gashumba says priority will be given to health workers, immigration officials, police and those engaged in cross-border trade.

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The authorities are hoping the experimental vaccine will keep the virus away from the country. So far there have been no confirmed Ebola cases in Rwanda.

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Thousands in the DR Congo have died of Ebola since the outbreak was declared in August last year.

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Congo Authorities Say Ebola Survivor Falls Ill A Second Time

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Congo Authorities Say Ebola Survivor Falls Ill A Second Time

Congolese health authorities are reporting an Ebola survivor in eastern Congo has fallen ill with the disease for a second time.  They are not sure if it was a relapse or re-infection.

More than three thousand persons have been infected, and more than two thousand killed by the disease in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since the middle of last year.  That makes it the second worst year on record.

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In a daily report on the epidemic, Congolese health authorities reported that a survivor in Mabalako, North Kivu province, had fallen ill with the virus again, but did not give further details.

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Experts say there has been a working assumption that Ebola survivors generally have immunity from the disease.  There have been no documented cases of reinfection, but some researchers consider it to be at least a theoretical possibility.

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Measles Toll In DR Congo Exceeds 5,000, WHO Says 

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Measles Toll In Congo Exceeds 5,000, WHO Says 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said on Thursday, a measles epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo has killed 5,000 people this year alone, and many of them young children.

A first measles vaccination campaign was launched to protect people against the infectious disease that has struck all of the country’s 26 provinces.

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W.H.O said, low immunization rates and high levels of malnutrition have fuelled the epidemic and high mortality rates, especially in North Kivu province, which is also reeling from an Ebola epidemic.

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There, the world’s second biggest Ebola epidemic on record has killed more than 2,200 people since mid-last year. New infections are reported to have slowed in recent months, but W.H.O, warned last week that Ebola was likely to resurge.

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Since the start of 2019, more than 250,000 suspected measles cases and at least 5,000 deaths mostly among children under 5 years, have been recorded.

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