Saint Lucia Health Officials are investigating information from ‘two reputable sources’ that there was a confirmed case of measles aboard a cruise ship that visited this country, Chief Medical Officer, Doctor Merlene Fredericks-James, says.
“We got information early this morning through two sources – two reputable sources, that there was a confirmed case of measles on a cruise ship that visited our Island,” she said in a statement to the media.
Fredericks-James did not mention the name of the vessel.
She said based on internal discussion and consultation with the Pan American Health Organisation and others and in keeping with the quarantine and public health act, the ship was quarantined with the crew and passengers not allowed to leave the vessel.
Fredericks-James explained that measles is a highly infectious disease.
“One infected person can easily infect others through coughing, sneezing, droplets being on various surfaces etc. So because of the risk of potential infection, not just from the confirmed measles case but from other persons who may be on the boat at the time, we thought it prudent not to allow anyone to disembark,” she stated.
She reminded Saint Lucians that there is a situation in the region with people travelling to and from the United States, Europe and other places where measles represents an issue.
The Chief Medical Officer urged people to get vaccinated and ensure that their children obtain the necessary vaccines as well.
This year, the U.S. has its highest number of measles cases in 25 years. As of this week, the CDC has recorded 704 cases in 22 states.
The reemergence of measles is linked to parents who have chosen not to vaccinate their children against this highly contagious disease, media reports say.
Increases in cases of measles have also been reported in Europe.