Saint Lucia has provided measles vaccines to a cruise ship that has been quarantined here this week, due to a confirmed case of measles.
Chief Medical Officer, Doctor Merlene Fredericks-James made the disclosure Thursday.
She explained that the Department of Health and Wellness and other agencies continue to provide support and welfare as needed to the ship.
“Today, the ship’s doctor requested 100 doses of the Measles vaccine and this is currently being provided from our supplies, at no cost,” according to the senior health official.
Fredericks-James said that the Department of Health and Wellness continues to address the matter involving the confirmed case of Measles on the ship, which entered Saint Lucia ports on Tuesday April 30, 2019.
The ship has been identified as the Freewinds.
She said given the highly infectious nature of Measles, along with the possibility that other persons on board the vessel may have been in contact with and are now possibly infectious due to the disease, a decision was made not to allow persons to disembark.
“This decision to quarantine the ship is in keeping with the health laws of Saint Lucia,” Fredericks-James explained.
She noted that an epidemiological investigation aboard the ship has verified that the confirmed case, as well as other crew and passengers are stable and remain under surveillance by the Ship’s doctor.
“Continued surveillance is necessary as the incubation period for Measles ranges from 10 to 12 days, before symptoms in exposed persons occur,” Fredericks-James stated.
According to the Chief Medical Officer, Saint Lucia’s public health response is being coordinated with other local agencies and partners.
She said that Saint Lucian authorities remain in discussion with regional and international health agencies such as the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).
“We wish to remind persons that there are currently large Measles outbreaks in some countries. Measles is spread through droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected persons who cough and sneeze,” the Chief Medical Officer stated.
“Early symptoms include high fever, runny nose, red eyes, and tiny white spots on the inside of the mouth. A rash may then develop, starting on the face and upper neck and then spreading throughout the body. The disease can be particularly severe in young children who are not immunized.”
Fredericks-James said that Infection with Measles can be prevented if persons are fully immunized against the disease.