Cruise ship quarantined in St Lucia for measles heads to Curacao

Henrietta Brewer
May 4, 2019

CNN reported the ship had left St. Lucia, and online ship traffic data showed that the vessel was under way and headed for the island of Curacao.

Almost 300 passengers and crew are on board, NBC News reports.

The Freewinds ship is reportedly owned by the Church of Scientology.

The vessel had arrived in St Lucia from Curacao on Tuesday, when it was placed under quarantine by health authorities because of a measles patient - a female crew member, according to Merlene Fredericks-James, St Lucia's chief medical officer. "Continued surveillance is necessary as the incubation period for measles ranges from 10 to 12 days before symptoms in exposed persons occur", the statement added.

"We are aware of the situation in St Lucia and we have been monitoring it. Rest assured that the Ministry of Health will take any measure to protect the public against the introduction of any threatening disease in Antigua and Barbuda", she said.

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".

Depending on when other passengers were exposed, it may not be too late for them to receive a measles vaccine.

Public health officials blame declining vaccination rates in some communities driven by misinformation about inoculation that has left those populations vulnerable to rapid spread of infection among those with no immunity to the virus. "The point is to be treated like you're doing something that is contributing to your society and only be treated like a criminal if you disobey". Curacao health officials then alerted authorities in St. Lucia.

Measles cases in the United States have surpassed the highest number on record since the disease was declared eliminated nationwide in 2000.

Other reports by iNewsToday