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'Scientology' cruise ship quarantined over measles outbreak

Vaccination healthcare concept
A boat believed to belong to the Church of Scientology has been quarantined in St Lucia over a suspected outbreak of measles on board (GETTY)

The island of St Lucia has quarantined a cruise ship thought to belong to the Church of Scientology over an outbreak of measles on board.

The island’s chief medical officer has barred any passengers or crew from leaving the boat while in port, after a case of measles was diagnosed on the vessel.

On Tuesday, Dr. Merlene Frederick-James said in a Youtube video that the Ministry of Health ordered the restriction of the cruise ship, on information gained from the Pan American Health Organisation.

An editorial stock photo of the Scientology building in Hollywood, California.
An editorial stock photo of the Scientology building in Hollywood, California.

NBC News said nearly 300 passengers and crew are aboard the vessel, with one female crew member diagnosed with the illness.

Dr Frederick-James claimed the island had ‘got information through two reputable sources’ that an outbreak occurred on board.

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She said just one person with measles could easily infect others through coughing and sneezing.

Dr James said in her statement: ‘After discussion with internal and external health agencies, we thought it prudent that we quarantine the ship.

‘So no-one was allowed to leave the ship. Passengers and crew were not allowed to board or leave the ship.’

(FREEWINDS.ORG)
(FREEWINDS.ORG)

But the medical professional gave no further details on the ship’s origins.

A sergeant coastguard on the island told NBC the boat is named Freewinds, a 440-foot long vessel owned and operated by the Church of Scientology.

The Church of Scientology website describes the vessel as a floating ‘religious retreat ministering the most advanced level of spiritual counselling in the Scientology religion.’

Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus that can spread through the air and can cause symptoms such as runny nose, watery eyes, fever, cough and a rash of red spots.

Scene depicts a measles quarantine area with police lights and cordon tape.
Scene depicts a measles quarantine area with police lights and cordon tape.

An infected person can be contagious for four days before showing signs of the disease.

The quarantine comes as the number of measles cases in the US reached 25-year high with more than 700 people diagnosed as of this week.

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