The World Health Organization warned of a "slide back" in global efforts to eliminate measles Tuesday, as the death toll from an outbreak that has killed dozens of children in Samoa continued to climb.
Samoa's government said Monday that another five children had died within the past day from a measles outbreak, bringing the death toll from the epidemic to more than 50 as authorities race to vaccinate the entire population.
A new study suggests infants are more vulnerable to measles infection than previously thought. The findings debunk notions that most babies are protected for much of their first year by maternal antibodies passed on through pregnancy.
Samoa has closed all its schools, banned children from public gatherings and mandated that everybody get vaccinated after declaring an emergency due to a measles outbreak that has so far killed six people.
Health officials are blaming the dangerous anti-vaccine movement for almost costing the United States its measles elimination status, a landmark achievement in health that has stood for almost 20 years.