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Deadly measles outbreak hits children in Samoa after anti-vaccine fears

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is immediately sending experts in response to a request from the Samoan government for assistance with a measles outbreak that has sickened 2,437 people and killed 32, mostly children, U.S. officials said Tuesday.

The CDC is providing technical assistance with tracking and monitoring of cases and vaccination campaigns, according to Robert Linkins, a CDC expert on global immunization. Two CDC experts are expected to be on the ground shortly, U.S. officials said. Vaccination rates in Samoa are among the lowest in the world, and the country has been the target of anti-vaccine activists.

The measles outbreak was declared Oct. 16 and is spreading rapidly throughout the island with unprecedented severity, CDC officials said. Children under 5 account for nearly half of cases.

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