Australia aids Samoa with measles outbreak

Matt Coughlan
Australia has sent aid to Samoa to help treat a measles outbreak exacerbated by low immunisation

Australia has sent a specialist team of nurses, doctors and public health experts to Samoa as the Pacific nation grapples with one of its worst measles outbreaks.

At least 16 deaths have been confirmed with more than 1170 cases recorded, mostly affecting babies and children.

Australia responded to a request for help from Samoa earlier this month.

"An Australian Medical Assistance Team will work alongside Samoan health personnel to provide urgent care to critically ill patients, support vaccinations and develop public health messages," Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne said on Thursday.

"The team has also established a portable eight-bed critical care unit to ensure the most vulnerable patients receive the care they need."

Senator Payne encouraged Australians travelling to Samoa, Tonga, Fiji and New Zealand to ensure their vaccinations are up to date.

Last week, Samoa declared a state of emergency in response to rising infection rates.