A team of Israeli medics is en route to the Pacific island state of Samoa to help it take on the deadly measles outbreak estimated to have killed at least 63 people since October.
Led by experts from Sheba Medical Center, the team of six nurses, two pediatricians, and one physiotherapist is expected to arrive at the island on Monday in a deployment requested by the World Health Organization.
Announcing the move Friday on Twitter, the Israeli ambassador to New Zealand, Dr. Itzhak Gerberg, said Jerusalem would not abandon its "dear friend" Samoa in the face of the crisis.
With dozens, mostly children, already dead, the disease is estimated to have affected more than 4,400 people in the 200,000-strong nation.
The outbreak is blamed on the so-called "anti-vaxxers", those vocal and outspoken against vaccination against measles and other diseases due to its supposed danger.
Their push aimed to prevent parents from having their small children immunized could have indeed played a role in the outbreak as infants are most vulnerable to the disease.
Under the emergency rules imposed amid the outbreak, the Samoan government is now cracking down on the anti-vaxxer propaganda, with a social media campaigner recently arrested over spreading it and facing up to two years in jail.
First published: 18:58 , 12.09.19