A measles case was confirmed aboard a ship owned by Church of Scientology in Curacao, leaving 28 people in quarantine.
Health officials in Curaçao, an island country in the Dutch Caribbean, announced on Saturday that the group of 17 crew members and 11 passengers should remain on board until Monday because they are still at risk of contracting measles after a member of the Female crew contracted the disease.
The dott. Izzy Gerstenbluth, an Curaçao public health epidemiologist, told reporters that the rest of the 318 people who were, in total, on the ship, are free to leave because "they are no longer a threat to anyone, and they can no longer get sick . "
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The Church of Scientology said in a statement that the Curacao authorities have recognized Freewinds – a 440-foot ship in the Caribbean – for its strict isolation protocol, which effectively contained the disease in a single case and prevented it from spreading to others.
The ship, which the church claims on its website, is the home of "a religious retreat that holds the most advanced level of spiritual counseling", was previously quarantined in St. Lucia and arrived in its port of Curacao a week does.
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The authorities at that time took 277 blood samples from those who had no proof of vaccination and sent them to the Netherlands. The member of the crew who contracted the measles had previously been in Europe and arrived in Curacao on April 17 with cold symptoms. She was tested for measles, but had already left for St. Lucia when the results returned.
More than 700 people in 22 US states have obtained measles this year, with federal officials claiming that the resurgence is driven by misinformation about vaccines. Symptoms include a runny nose, fever and a red rash. Most people recover, but in some cases measles can cause pneumonia, brain swelling and even death.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.