Updated
September 26th, 2019

Cruise Ship Freewinds Quarantined With Measles Onboard

Caribbean Island St. Lucia officials have quarantined 300 passengers at port

cruise ship

UPDATE: Merlene Fredericks-James, the CMO of St Lucia's Ministry of Health, said in a video message that the measles-infected female worker on the cruise ship Freewinds is stable .... but 100 MMR doses are needed for under-vaccinated passengers.

The 440-foot cruise ship Freewinds was ordered quarantined in the port of St. Lucia on April 30, 2019, after a female crew member was confirmed with the measles virus, reported the St. Lucia Times.

According to St. Lucia’s chief medical officer Dr. Merlene Fredericks-James, "The ship’s doctor has confirmed the person is in isolation on the ship,"

Dr. Fredericks-James added, "It is therefore likely that other persons of the 300 passengers on the Freewinds may have been exposed to measles." 

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the average incubation period for measles is 11–12 days and the average interval between exposure and rash onset is 14 days, with a range of 7–21 days. 

While no one has been allowed to leave the Freewinds, St. Lucian authorities said ‘they don't have the authority to keep it from leaving.’

The ship is scheduled to leave St. Lucia on May 2, 2019, officials said. 

Saint Lucia is an island nation with approximately 178,000 residents, located southeast of Puerto Rico in the Caribbean Sea.

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Measles is usually a mild or moderately severe illness. However, measles can result in complications such as pneumonia, encephalitis, and death says the CDC.

Persons with measles are usually considered infectious from four days before until four days after onset of rash with the rash onset being considered as day zero. 

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

By 2002, scientific evidence suggested that endemic transmission of measles virus in the Americas was interrupted for ≥12 months, however, imported cases from endemic areas of the world continued to occur, resulting in sizable outbreaks in several countries, including the United States. 

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

Vaccine discounts and financial support can be found at Vaccine Discounts.

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