Health Care

Curacao to quarantine cruise ship for measles case

Curacao to quarantine cruise ship for measles case”

On Thursday, health authorities in St Lucia confirmed that a cruise ship had been quarantined over fears that at least one of the passengers on board had contracted measles. Curacao health officials then alerted authorities in St. Lucia. They said proof is required, and that people who do not comply will be vaccinated immediately.

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.

No one on the ship has been allowed to disembark. The measles virus is highly contagious and can cause blindness, deafness, brain damage or death.

Curacao epidemiologist Dr. Izzy Gerstenbluth said the female crew member arrived April 17 in Curacao from Europe and visited a doctor April 22 for cold symptoms.

The 440-foot Freewinds ship is reportedly owned by the Church of Scientology.

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. It says on its website the ship is a religious retreat at the pinnacle of a Scientologist's spiritual journey.

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.

Passengers were stuck on the Freewinds after a female crew member tested positive for measles.

"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 quarantine comes amid a worldwide resurgence of measles blamed by public health officials on declining inoculation rates in some populations due to misinformation about the safety of the vaccine.

Last year, 11 cruise ships carrying hundreds of passengers to the United States reported outbreaks of rotavirus, norovirus and E. coli, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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