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(PRESS RELEASE) — The Department of Health and Wellness confirms the departure of the cruise ship which contained a confirmed case of measles.
The ship departed on the night of May 2, 2019 for its home port in the Dutch Caribbean.
Prior to its departure, the international health regulations focal point in St. Lucia had direct communication with counterparts in the home port. Full details of St. Lucia’s public health and epidemiological interventions were shared.
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 this 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 St. Lucia.
Notwithstanding the ship’s departure, the Department of Health and Wellness continues surveillance and close monitoring of local officers who may have boarded the ship during interventions whilst in port.
The Department of Health and Wellness wishes to thank partner agencies, the ship’s agent, tourism agencies, the Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority including Ports Police, the Royal St. Lucia Police Force including the Marine Unit, and other government agencies and the media, for their support and cooperation during the intervention.
Special thanks to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) for the technical support provided.
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. 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.
Infection with measles can be prevented if persons are fully immunized against the disease.