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Measles Epidemic Erupts in Samoa

In this image from video, a woman prays in front of a portrait of her lost child with measles in Apia, Samoa. Samoa closed all its schools, Nov. 18, 2019, banned children from public gatherings and mandated that everybody get vaccinated.

Twenty-two people have died from measles in Samoa.

All the deaths, except one, were of children younger than five years old, according to Reuters.

The South Pacific island has declared a state of emergency, with nearly 2,000 cases of measles reported.

The government has initiated a mass mandatory vaccination program.

Samoa said Saturday that 153 cases had been reported in the last 24 hours.

One mother who lost her two-year-old son to the disease told an Australian Broadcasting Company crew that her three oldest sons had been inoculated against the disease, but she was too poor to afford to have her two year old inoculated.