Cruise quarantined for measles heads back to Curacao

Cruise quarantined for measles heads back to Curacao
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A cruise ship reportedly operated by the Church of Scientology is headed for Curacao after the ship's crew and passengers were quarantined on board in the Caribbean when several people showed symptoms of measles.

The Associated Press reported Friday that the ship, known as the Freewinds, left St. Lucia after two days of quarantine and is now headed to the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao.

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An epidemiologist on Curacao told the AP that the ship previously arrived at Curacao in April, when a female crew member reported cold symptoms and had a blood test taken that was later confirmed to contain measles after the ship had already departed for St. Lucia.

Authorities on St. Lucia told the news service that church doctors requested 100 copies of the measles vaccine, but it is unknown how many in total have exhibited symptoms on the ship. Church officials have not responded to the AP's requests for comment.

A St. Lucia public health official said earlier this week that the ship's passengers had been prevented from disembarking to prevent spreading the disease to the local populace.

"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 Thursday.