28 Individuals Quarantined for Measles Aboard the Freewinds in Curaçao

Caribbean cruise ship Freewinds passengers still at risk of contracting measle

willemstad curacao, home port of Freewinds

Health officials in Willemstad, Curaçao announced that 17 crew members and 11 passengers must stay aboard the cruise ship Freewinds following a confirmed case of measles. 

Dr. Izzy Gerstenbluth said in a press briefing the group is required to stay on the 440-feet Freewinds ship until May 13, 2019, ‘because they are still at risk of contracting measles,’ reported APnews. 

He said that ‘the remaining crew members and passengers, which totaled 318, are free to leave the ship.’ 

Willemstad is the capital city of Curaçao, with a population of approximately 150,000 residents, and 2 million annual visitors.

Curaçao is a Dutch Caribbean island located 40 miles north of Venezuela. 

Dr. Gerstenbluth, who leads the Department of Epidemiology and Social Science of the Curaçao Biomedical and Health Insitute, said the female crew member who was infected had been in Europe and arrived in Curaçao on April 17th, with cold symptoms.

The Freewinds was previously quarantined in St. Lucia on April 30, 2019.

This person had already left for St. Lucia by the time the measles test results were conclusive. 

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Persons with measles are usually considered infectious from 4 days before until 4 days after onset of rash with the rash onset being considered as day zero, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

In the Americas, under the leadership of the Pan American Health Organization and the CDC, an aggressive measles elimination program was launched in 1994. 

By 2002, scientific evidence suggested that endemic transmission of measles virus in the Americas had been interrupted for more than 1 year. 

However, imported measles cases from endemic areas of the world continued to occur, resulting in sizable outbreaks in several countries, including the United States, Venezuela, and Brazil. 

In the first two months of 2019, approximately 34,300 measles cases have been reported in 42 countries of the World Health Organization European Region. 

In the USA, most pharmacies offer measles vaccines, such as MMR-II and ProQuad.

Additionally, the CDC says to check measles travel notices, which can be found at Travel Alerts.

Pre-travel counseling sessions can be scheduled at Vax-Before-Travel.

Relevant Links: CDC vaccination schedules, CDC vaccine price list, international travel alerts, and report vaccine side effects.