Only one pending sample is in Hawaii for testing
By Fili Sagapolutele
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — While there are no new laboratory confirmed measles cases for American Samoa as of Feb. 1st, health officials are awaiting results of one suspected case sent to the Hawaii state lab.
This was the latest update provided by the Health Department and LBJ Medical Center, during a cabinet briefing late Sunday afternoon on the new coronavirus (see separate story in today’s edition for details) and measles outbreak.
Based on data shared by the Samoa Ministry of Health, DoH informed cabinet members that numbers remain the same for measles cases in the independent state since the last briefing on Jan. 26th - with 5,707 total cases and 83 deaths.
For American Samoa, DoH’s Dr. Saipale Fuimaono said that as of Feb. 2nd, total number of confirmed laboratory cases remain at 15 - which is the same from the Jan. 26th briefing. He added that there is one pending case, for which a sample was sent to the Hawaii laboratory for testing.
Data provided by LBJ shows that the suspected case is a female, 24, from Falenui, who was born in American Samoa with no travel history outside of the territory. The person has had the first MMR shot.
She was seen at the hospital with a rash on her forehead accompanied by a fever and cough. She was treated and released the same day while swabs were taken and sent to Hawaii.
LBJ’s Dr. Annie Fuavai said if the results come back negative, the person will be given the second MMR shot. As with previous suspected and confirmed cases, DoH carried out the usual contact tracing, checking on those who came in contact with the individual.
STUDENTS MMR OVERALL COVERAGE
DoH also provided the latest update on its MMR overall coverage for both public and private schools, as well as daycare centers. As of Feb. 1st, a total of 99.7% of children 12 years and older have been given the first MMR dose, leaving only 0.3% - or 44 children - needing shots.
For students 14 years and older - who have received the two MMR shots - the percentage has reached 98.4%, leaving 1.6% - or 208 - needing the second MMR dose.
Of those needing to complete the two MMR doses, 83 students are in public elementary schools and 72 attend private elementary schools. For high schools, 34 students in the public education system and 12 in private schools still need to get the second MMR shot.
Education director Dr. Ruth Matagi-Tofiga requested that DoH re-check their records for public schools, saying there may be cases of students who have already received both doses but are not properly recorded - as well as students who moved off island.
Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga reiterated what he had said in previous briefings: ensure all students get their required immunization shots, especially the 44 who are required to get the first MMR dose.
According to DoH, medical staff will, again, carry out school visit this week from 8a.m. to 2p.m to update immunization records. DoH also continues this week, vaccinations at the same five sites as last week.
DoH data on border control for the Pago Pago International Airport shows that 15 passengers were denied entry between Jan. 27th and Feb. 1st. There was no explanation on whether the denied entries were passengers from Samoa or Hawaiian Airlines.
At the conclusion of the briefing, Lolo said there are no changes to current policies implemented to address both the measles and coronavirus.