By NewsDesk   @bactiman63

The Samoa Ministry of Health confirms a total of 5,267 measles cases have been reported to the Disease Surveillance Team, since the outbreak started. There were 57 recorded in the last 24 hours for Upolu, and no new cases for Savai’i.

Image/Jim Goodson, M.P.H.

In addition, 73 measles related deaths have been recorded, with 1 fatality in the last 24 hours.

Health officials report as of December 15, 2019, approximately 93% of all eligible people in Samoa have been vaccinated against measles.

One troubling issue concerning the Samoa outbreak is the misinformation circulating on social media. For example, “The vaccine is spreading measles” or “Vaccine strain causing infections”.

These claims were debunked by University of Auckland vaccinologist, Dr. Helen Petousis-Harris who says, it is “not biologically possible” for the MMR vaccine to cause a measles outbreak.

“The outbreaks in Samoa and Tonga are caused by the D8 strain (genotype) of measles virus,” according to a UN report.

The D8 strain is a wild-type measles virus, which are naturally occurring and non-mutated, as opposed to the attenuated, or weakened strains found in vaccines.

Instead, the Samoa outbreak is caused by underimmunization. Just a few short months ago, Samoa’s population has a 31 percent vaccination rate. This of course has improved after a recent mass vaccination campaign.

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These are not the only ridiculous things being spread/written about the Samoa measles outbreak. I recently received a request to retweet an article from a website called “Honey Colony” suggesting the outbreak is fabricated to give Merck the opportunity to dump their “faulty vaccine”.

Good grief!!