Healthcare

Cruise ship apparently linked to Church of Scientology quarantined due to measles

A cruise ship appearing to belong to the Church of Scientology has been quarantined due to possible measles exposure, a Saint Lucia public health official said Tuesday.

The Caribbean country’s chief medical officer, Dr. Merlene Fredericks James, said in a video message that authorities learned early Tuesday of a case of measles on the ship. 

{mosads}”Because of the risk of potential infection, not just from the confirmed measles case but from other persons who may be on the boat at this time, we made the decision to not allow anyone to disembark,” Fredericks James said.

St. Lucia Coast Guard Sgt. Victor Theodore told CNBC Wednesday that the ship, called “Freewinds,” is currently docked at the Caribbean island. The Church of Scientology, which owns a ship called “Freewinds” based in the Caribbean, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

Fredericks James, who has so far declined to name the ship, said the ship has fewer than 300 passengers and crew.

The news comes as U.S. health officials attempt to contain a number of measles outbreaks across the country.

A report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month found that there were more cases of measles in the first three months of this year than in all of 2018.

There have been 704 individual cases reported in the U.S. as of April 26, the largest number in a year since 1994 and since measles was declared eliminated in 2000.

Vaccination rates have dropped slightly in recent years, mostly among children, health experts say, because of the spread of misinformation online about vaccine safety.

Tags Church of Scientology Measles

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