Cruise Ship Quarantined for Measles Case Heads to Curacao

Henrietta Brewer
May 5, 2019

Authorities in Curacao are debating how to respond to a ship with 300 people aboard that is heading to the Dutch Caribbean island after being placed under quarantine in nearby St Lucia because of a confirmed case of measles.

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As Gerstenbluth explained, while the infected crew member was confined to her quarters after being diagnosed with measles, the ship's confined quarters coupled with the virus' highly contagious create a considerable risk of exposure for others aboard the vessel who lack immunity.

The ship is scheduled to arrive in Curacao early Saturday.

"Health inspectors are on board and interviewing everybody according to global rules". This, of course, is a challenge being on a cruise ship.

"It seems, for now, that only one case was there from the beginning and did not spread due to good precautions by the ship", the source said.

The ship arrived at St. Lucia on Tuesday and was set to depart Thursday, according to a schedule posted on the St. Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority website.

Church officials did not immediately respond to efforts by Reuters seeking comment on the situation.

A total of 318 passengers and crew are believed to be aboard the ship, a Panamanian-flagged cruise liner identified by maritime-tracking records as SMV Freewinds, the name of the 440-foot ship owned and operated by the Church of Scientology.

Former scientologist Valeska Paris said she was order to join the ship's crew after her mother criticized the religion.

Merlene Fredericks-James ordered the vessel named Freewinds quarantined in the port of Castries after internal deliberations and speaking with the Pan American Health Organization, according to CNN.

U.S. health officials reported more than 700 people have been infected by measles in 2019 so far, which is a 25-year high for cases in the U.S., BBC News reports.

Officials urged anyone who visited the ship from April 22-28 to get a medical checkup. Symptoms include fever, runny nose along with a rash that is red-spotted. Most people recover, but measles can lead to pneumonia, brain swelling and even death in some cases.

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