The cruise ship Freewinds has been placed under quarantine by the island of St. Lucia after a case of measles was reported on board. Dr. Merlene Fredericks-James, the island’s chief medical officer, made the decision to prevent all passengers and crew from disembarking after a confirmed case of the highly contagious disease was reported on board.
The United States is currently in the midst of a measles outbreak. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “from January 1 to April 26, 2019, 704 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 22 states. This is the greatest number of cases reported in the US since 1994 and since measles was declared eliminated in 2000.”
The boat, supposedly owned by the Church of Scientology, is believed to have about 300 passengers on board, though the ship’s doctor confirmed that the measles case has been isolated on the ship.
According to the BBC, although St. Lucian authorities can prevent anyone from disembarking, they cannot, however, keep the ship in port indefinitely. It is scheduled to leave the island around midnight on Thursday.
Recently, many measles cases have been linked to unvaccinated international travelers, especially air travelers. Last month, a flight attendant for Israel’s El Al airline became ill with the measles and was in a coma.
Measles is a very serious virus that can be lethal or lead to very severe and long-term complications, especially in children.