Cruise Ship Quarantined for Measles Case Heads to Curacao


The Caribbean nation of St. Lucia has imposed a quarantine on a visiting cruise ship, barring any passengers or crew from leaving the boat while in port, after a case of measles was diagnosed on board, the island's chief medical officer said.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr Merlene Fredericks-James, said that the authorities had received the information from two reputable sources.

The crew member reportedly visited a doctor April 22 for cold symptoms and a blood sample was taken.

Others would likely be restricted from leaving the vessel for the duration of the incubation period - the time during which they could potentially transmit the disease to others, he told Reuters by telephone.

Now, the Curaçao government will not let any of the 300 people on board off of the ship until they've determined who is susceptible to the disease. "There is no other way than ... by not allowing anyone who may be infected off the ship".

Measles is highly contagious and can be transmitted via the air through sneezing or coughing, or by physical contact with an infected person or with an object that the person has touched.

NBC News reported that almost 300 passengers and crew were aboard the vessel, with one female crew member diagnosed with measles.

The Freewinds cruise ship is docked in the port of Castries, the capital of St. Lucia, Thursday, May 2, 2019.

Health authorities placed the ship under quarantine after its arrival there on April 30, barring anyone from disembarking.

The St. Lucia Department of Health and Wellness said in a statement that the ship's doctor is monitoring passengers and crew members on the ship, CNN reports.

The Church of Scientology cruise ship was confined in port this week by island health officials after the highly contagious disease was detected on board.

The Church of Scientology website describes the Freewinds as a floating "religious retreat ministering the most advanced level of spiritual counseling in the Scientology religion".

It says the boat is based in Curacao, an island once part of the Dutch Antilles north of Venezuela and now an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

"Quarantine is a word that people respond to very strongly, but it's actually one of the strongest tools in the public health tool kit".

In its most recent update, the CDC has confirmed more than 700 individual cases of measles in the far this year.