Samoa measles outbreak worsens

Health officials are urging some travelers to stay away from Samoa and American Samoa as the neighboring islands continue to battle a measles outbreak that has killed dozens.

SAMOA – Health officials are urging some travelers to stay away from Samoa and American Samoa as the neighboring islands continue to battle a measles outbreak.

At least 70 people have died from the infectious virus in Samoa, while nine cases have been reported in American Samoa.

The immunization rate in American Samoa is much higher, but the government is still being extra cautious.

Hawaii’s Lieutenant Governor Josh Green, who just returned from a two-day medical mission to Samoa, says now is not the time to visit.

“If you’re not immunized, don’t go,” said Green. “Don’t go, period. There were strains of pneumonia that people got after they got measles. Some of those pneumonias were so strong, they were unlike strains I had ever seen here in Hawaii or across America. They will kill you.”

While its service is unaffected, Hawaiian Airlines has since issued a travel advisory and is waiving change fees for passengers with flights to and from American Samoa between December 9 to December 31.