Cruise ship under measles quarantine in St. Lucia asking for 100 vaccine doses

An island health official said other people may have come in contact with an infected crew member.

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By Minyvonne Burke

A doctor aboard a cruise ship quarantined in St. Lucia after a crew member was confirmed to have measles is requesting 100 doses of a vaccine used to treat the highly infectious disease, an island health official said.

Merlene Fredericks-James, the chief medical officer of St. Lucia's Ministry of Health and Wellness, said in a video message posted to YouTube on Thursday that the infected female worker is stable, but that other people on the ship may have come in contact with her and could also be infected with measles.

Fredericks-James said the vaccines requested by the ship's doctor are being supplied at no cost.

She also said the almost 300 passengers and crew are not allowed to disembark in the Caribbean port because of the "highly infectious nature of measles" and the possibility that others may now be infected.

"This decision to quarantine the ship is in keeping of the health laws of St. Lucia," she said.

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The vessel, which St. Lucia Coast Guard Sgt. Victor Theodore said is named Freewinds, has been under quarantine since Monday morning.

A 440-foot cruise ship owned and operated by the Church of Scientology is also named Freewinds. Officials on the island declined to comment on the name of the cruise ship, but Theodore identified to NBC News that it is the same one listed on the church's website.

The church did not immediately return NBC News' request for comment.

Authorities in St. Lucia said they have been working with the Pan American Health Organization and the Caribbean Public Health Agency.

The ship was set to depart St. Lucia on Thursday night.

Measles can be easily spread through coughing and sneezing. The disease, which was once vanquished through vaccines, has made a comeback in recent years, with more than 700 cases reported across 22 states this year, U. S. health officials said.

The surprising comeback has led to the highest number of reported cases in the U.S. in a year since 1994. The disease had been declared eliminated in 2000.

A traveler with measles, who flew into Newark Liberty International Airport from Israel two weeks ago, might have exposed fellow passengers, New Jersey health officials said Thursday.

Anyone who might have been in Terminal C between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. on April 16 should see a doctor and be aware of symptoms, according to the state Department of Health.

Visitors to the Sky Zone trampoline park in South Plainfield, New Jersey, between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. on April 22, and the River 978 Banquet Hall in Lakewood from 6 p.m. on April 23 to 1 a.m. on April 24 should also be aware of their potential exposure.