Curacao officials board Scientology ship in measles case

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WILLEMSTAD, Curacao (AP) — Authorities in Curacao on Saturday boarded a ship that arrived beneath quarantine to start out vaccinating individuals to stop a measles outbreak.

Well being officers mentioned solely those that have already got been vaccinated or have beforehand had measles will likely be free to go away the 440-foot (134-meter) ship Freewinds, which belongs to the Church of Scientology.

Curacao epidemiologist Dr. Izzy Gerstenbluth advised The Related Press {that a} small crew is assessing greater than 300 individuals aboard the ship, and that the method would possibly take greater than a day.

“We are going to go on board and do our job,” he mentioned, including that authorities have a global obligation to keep away from spreading the illness. “If we permit that to occur, measles spreads in locations the place the chance of extreme issues is way larger, particularly after we’re speaking about poor nations the place individuals have a decrease degree of resistance.”

Authorities fear individuals aboard the ship might need been uncovered after a feminine crew member was recognized with measles after getting back from Europe. Gerstenbluth mentioned she arrived on the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao on April 17 and visited a physician April 22 for chilly signs. A blood pattern was taken and despatched to close by Aruba, the place officers confirmed it was measles on April 29, a day after the ship had departed for St. Lucia. Curacao well being officers then alerted authorities in St. Lucia.

The Freewinds was beneath quarantine in St. Lucia earlier this week earlier than it returned to its house port of Curacao early Saturday.

Gerstenbluth mentioned it might be simple to unfold the illness provided that it is a small ship.

“That is what occurs after we do not vaccinate,” he mentioned.

Signs embody runny nostril, fever and a red-spotted rash. Most individuals get well, however measles can result in pneumonia, mind swelling and even demise in some circumstances.

Measles has sickened greater than 700 individuals in 22 U.S. states this yr, with federal officers saying the resurgence is pushed by misinformation about vaccines.

Church officers haven’t returned requires remark. In accordance with the church’s web site, the ship is the house of “a non secular retreat ministering essentially the most superior degree of non secular counseling.” It says spiritual conventions and seminars are also held aboard.

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