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28 Remain on Scientology Ship Under Quarantine due to Measles Scare

Lifestyle & Health

7Dnews London

Mon, 13 May 2019 10:56 GMT

Some 28 Church of Scientology members remain under quarantine aboard their ship that is currently docked in the Caribbean island of Curacao.

Local authorities said on Saturday, May 11th, that 17 crew members and 11 passengers will not be allowed to leave the ship after a confirmed case of measles on board, as reported by AP. 

Dr Izzy Gerstenbluth said the group will be required to remain on the 440-feet ship, Freewinds, until May 13th. The decision was made as they are still at risk of contracting measles. This comes after it was confirmed that a female crew member had contracted the disease. 

The remaining crew members and passengers, which totalled 318, are now free to leave the ship. 

"They are not a threat to anyone and they cannot become sick anymore," said Gerstenbluth. 

The church released a statement, saying the health authorities in Curacao had acknowledged the Freewinds for its strict isolation protocol. This effectively contained the illness to a single case and prevented it from spreading to others. According to the church's website, the ship is the home of "a religious retreat ministering the most advanced level of spiritual counselling." 

The ship was previously quarantined in St Lucia and arrived in its home port of Curacao a week ago. Authorities boarded the vessel and drew 277 blood samples from those who did not have proof of vaccination. These blood samples were then sent to the Netherlands for testing. 

Gerstenbluth said the female crew member who was infected had been in Europe and arrived April 17th in Curacao with cold symptoms. Authorities said she had been tested for measles but the results only came back after she had already left for St Lucia. Officials in Curacao then alerted the government of St Lucia. 

Symptoms of measles include a runny nose, fever and a red-spotted rash. In most cases, those infected recover but the illness can lead to pneumonia, brain swelling and even death. 

More than 700 people in 22 US states have contracted the disease this year, with federal officials saying the resurgence is driven by misinformation about vaccines. 

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