A Scientology Cruise Ship Is Quarantined After a Measles Outbreak

Scientology cruise ship reportedly quarantined after crew member tests positive for measles

"Anyone who is not adequately immunised against measles can contract the disease if there has been close contact with a confirmed case", according to a statement issued Wednesday by Dr. Merlene Fredericks-James, the island nation's chief medical officer.

"One infected person can easily infect others through coughing, sneezing, droplets being on various surfaces, etc".

Everyone on board the ship is forbidden from disembarking by authority of St. Lucia's health officials under their quarantine act and public health act.

St. Lucia Coast Guard Sgt. Victor Theodore identified the ship as the Freewinds to NBC News, a 440-foot cruise ship owned and operated by the Church of Scientology. It says on its website the ship is a religious retreat at the pinnacle of a Scientologist's spiritual journey.

The Church of Scientology did not respond to TIME's requests for comment.

"Today, the ship's doctor requested 100 doses of the Measles vaccine and this is now being provided from our supplies, at no cost", according to the senior health official.

The vessel was locked down later that day, an attempt to stymie any potential spread of the highly contagious disease that's sickening people in the United States at a record pace, fuelled by anti-vaccination misinformation.

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Hundreds of people are stuck on a cruise ship because of the measles.

The Port Authorities schedule confirms that the vessel arrived in Port Castries on the Tuesday and is scheduled for a Thursday departure.

Scientology does not have an official position on vaccines, Rev. John Carmichael, the president of the Church of Scientology in NY, said in an interview with Beliefnet. Its home port is Curaçao. "The ship is free to leave our port anytime it wishes", she said.

Measles has sickened more than 700 people in 22 USA states this year, with federal officials saying the resurgence is driven by misinformation about vaccines.

But two former Scientologists later came forward to say they were held against their will in the depths of the ship and were forced to do hard labour as Cruise and company celebrated above. While part of the problem is anti-vaxxers refusing to vaccinate their children due to the debunked belief that vaccines cause autism, the outbreak of measles has also been fueled by other, global factors.

It's the highest number of reported cases in the U.S.in a year since 1994.

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