Local group hopes to send some Aloha to Samoa
An outbreak of measles has killed more than 50 people in Samoa. Most of them are children. Measles is a virus that some doctors say spreads fast.
"While it is something you catch when someone cough or sneeze. The measles can hang in the air for two hours after someone leaves," Dr. Nadine Tenn Salle, Queen's Medical Center chief of pediatrics, said.
Symptoms include red eyes, coughing and a runny nose. Then three to four days later, a red rash develops all over the body.
Tenn Salle says measles spread faster than the common cold so the best prevention is getting the shot.
"It works, it's safe and it does prevent situation that are going on in Samoa from happening," she said.
Tenn Salle says the chances of catching measles for unvaccinated people is around 90 percent.
"That's how fast measles can come back and can spread in a community that's not protected and it underlies the importance of having our community protected. Not just an individual," she said.
Samoa declared a State of Emergency more than two weeks ago and the amount of patients sent to hospitals continue to rise.
Here at home, an organization wants to lend a hand by collecting medical supplies. It started last month and already received dozens of donations.
Some members have family in Samoa and with death counting climbing, they feel helpless.
"Even though we don't live back in Samoa. They're still our people. Those are our brothers and sisters. People are dying. Kids are in need of help. We just felt kind of helpless out here. We wanted to try and render assistance," Moana Siaki, Brown Girl Woke, said.
The group is also working with Fiji Airlines and Samoa Airways to ship about 20 boxes of supplies from Honolulu to Samoa.
"They don't have to worry about mailing it. They don't have to worry about shipping it. They don't have to worry about oh is it really going to the hospitals. Is this really going to Samoa to help. The answers are all yes," Siaki said.
Some supplies on an Amazon wish-list include surgical face masks, antibacterial soap and medical tape.
Hope is the materials can help the increasing amount of people hospitalized, now more than 1,100 people since the outbreak began.
If you'd like to help, you can find the Amazon wish list here.