The Scientology quarantine cruise ship in St. Lucia receives the measles vaccine

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(Reuters) – Health officials on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia have provided 100 free doses of measles vaccine to a Church of Scientology cruise ship put under quarantine after a highly contagious on-board disease was diagnosed. said the chief medical officer of the island Thursday.

A 440-foot ship, owned and operated by the Church of Scientology, SMV Freewinds, is docked under a measles epidemic in the harbor near Castries, St. Lucia, on May 2, 2019. REUTERS / Micah George

Health officials in St. Lucia have confirmed a measles case on board the ship that was docked in a port near the capital of Castries Island since Tuesday, Dr. Merlene Frederick-James said in a video statement.

"The confirmed case and the other members of the crew are currently stable but remain under surveillance by the ship's doctor," said Frederick-James, noting that the measles incubation period is 10 to 12 days before the symptoms.

The Saint Lucia Ministry of Health has ordered the ship to be quarantined on Tuesday. The restriction comes from the fact that the number of measles cases in the United States has reached a peak of 25 years with more than 700 people diagnosed starting this week, part of an international resurgence of the disease. (Graph: tmsnrt.rs/2GJgoBt)

Frederick-James said the measles vaccine doses were given to the ship for free.

He gave no information on the ship or its origins.

NBC News, citing a coast guard sergeant from St. Lucia, said the ship is called Freewinds, which is the name of a 440-foot ship owned and operated by the Church of Scientology.

According to Reuters Eikon shipping data, a Panamanian-flagged cruise ship identified as SMV Freewinds was docked in the port near Castries on Thursday. The ship was directed near the island of Dominica, the data shown.

On its website, the Church of Scientology describes the Freewinds as a floating "religious retreat" that carries the most advanced level of spiritual counseling in the Scientology religion. "It is said that the port of departure of the ship is Curacao.

Church officials did not respond to requests for comment.

NBC News reported that around 300 passengers and crew members were on the ship, with a member of the female crew diagnosed with measles.

Public health officials blame the declining vaccination rates in some communities led by misinformation about inoculation that left those populations vulnerable to the rapid spread of infection among people without immunity to the virus.

The vast majority of US cases occurred in children who did not receive measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccines, officials said.

Reporting of Brendan O & # 39; Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Lisa Shumaker

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