SALT LAKE CITY — A cruise ship remains quarantined off the eastern Caribbean island of St. Lucia after discovering a case of measles on board, CBS News reports.
No one has been allowed to leave the ship yet, according to Dr. Merlene Fredericks-James, who told CBS News that the ship remains in port. The ship can leave St. Lucia if it chooses to, she said.
- "Whilst in our ports, we will continue to monitor and will not allow disembarkation, given the contagious nature of the disease," she said.
Fredericks-James said the infected person is a female crew member, who remains in stable condition. She said the ship’s doctor has called for more than 100 vials of measles vaccine. The island won’t charge the ship for the vaccines.
The St. Lucia Department of Health and Wellness said in a statement that the ship’s doctor is monitoring passengers and crew members on the ship, CNN reports.
- "Continued surveillance is necessary as the incubation period for measles ranges from 10 to 12 days before symptoms in exposed persons occur," the statement said, according to CNN.
The ship reached St. Lucia on Tuesday and was due to leave on Thursday, BBC News reports. The ship reportedly belongs to the Church of Scientology. According to the church’s website, the ship is a religious retreat for Scientology members.
Tim Moody, the former chairperson for the Emerging Public Health Threats and Emergency Response Coalition, told CNN that people who have never been exposed to measles and then get exposed have 72 hours to receive a vaccine before catching it.8 comments on this story
Rebecca Katz, who leads the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University, told CNN the quarantine remains a smart idea.
- "Quarantine is a word that people respond to very strongly, but it's actually one of the strongest tools in the public health tool kit," Katz said. "But because it curtails civil liberties, most public health officials are very wary to utilize it."
U.S. health officials reported more than 700 people have been infected by measles in 2019 so far, which is a 25-year high for cases in the U.S., BBC News reports.