A Scientology Cruise Ship Has Been Quarantined To Prevent A Measles Outbreak

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St. Lucia's chief medical officer Dr. Merlene Fredericks-James said in a statement that the case is now being investigated.

"One infected person can easily infect others", she said in a public statement.

The ship is scheduled to leave the island near midnight on Thursday, according to NBC News. Victor Theodore also told NBC News the ship's name is Freewinds.

Three hundred passengers and crew members are onboard the vessel, which has been named as Freewinds, a 440ft cruise ship belonging to the Church of Scientology whose home port is in Curaçao.

The ship is normally docked in the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao and serves as a religious retreat, according to the church's website.

Representatives of the Church of Scientology did not respond to requests for comment.

Most parents in the USA opt to vaccinate their children, the best method of protection, the CDC says, but misinformation about vaccine safety has spurred some to opt out.

St. Lucia authorities did not immediately provide an update on the person aboard who contracted measles.

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Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus that can spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes or if someone comes into direct contact or shares germs by touching the same objects or surfaces.

"The ship's doctor has the confirmed case in isolation on the ship", Dr Fredericks-James was quoted as saying by NBC.

"This decision to quarantine the ship is in keeping with the health laws of Saint Lucia", Fredericks-James explained.

Fredericks-James said the department of health would "continue to support them as needed", and that "the ship is free to leave our ports at any time".

"After internal discussions as well as discussions with external health agencies such as the Pan-American Health Organisation, we thought it prudent that we quarantine the ship", she said.

"Scientologists are pretty independent people, though I will say this: they tend to do a little more research, perhaps, on the effect of various medical procedures or whatever", Carmichael said.

The vast majority of USA cases have occurred in children who have not received vaccines against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), officials said.

The U.S.is in the midst of multiple measles outbreaks, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed more than 700 cases of the disease so far this year, the highest number of cases since 1994.

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