Medicine

Scientology cruise ship quarantined over measles case

Scientology cruise ship quarantined over measles case

The Freewinds website describes the ship as "a religious retreat that marks for Scientologists the pinnacle of their journey to total spiritual freedom".

John Carmichael, president of the Church of Scientology in NY explained to the Beliefnet website that there was not official stance on vaccinations "as a religious principle". The ship, identified by St. Lucia Coast Guard Sergeant Victor Theodore as the "Freewinds", has over 300 passengers and crew, all of whom have been forbidden from leaving since the ship was first quarantined on Monday.

NBC News reports the infected person on the ship is a female member of the crew, who has been isolated and is reported to be in stable condition. Investigative journalist Tony Ortega, an expert on Scientology, spoke to Inside Edition about the ship. It is scheduled to leave St. Lucia at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday.

According to CNN, health officials received a tip from two sources that someone on board the Freewinds had measles, a highly contagious virus that is easily spread by coughing, sneezing, and really any contact with the infected person.

The church did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

Hundreds of people are stuck on a cruise ship because of the measles.

"The ship's doctor has the confirmed case in isolation on the ship", Fredericks-James said.

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She also cited the current situation in the USA, where cases of the disease are at a 25-year high, as another factor.

The majority of cases in the USA have occurred in NY, mainly affecting Orthodox Jewish communities.

With measles cases growing quickly, many adults are now wondering if they were vaccinated as children. The fact that there's a case of measles on board is perhaps not surprising.

The Church of Scientology says its members "rely on the advice and treatment of medical doctors", and seek conventional treatments for illnesses and injuries, according to its website.

Though some high-profile Scientologists have come out against vaccinations, the church has not taken a specific position on the issue.

"We have no jurisdiction over their next destination", Fredericks-James told NBC News.

"As per the Quarantine Act, our authority under the Quarantine Act, the Public Health Act, and after internal discussions as well as discussions with external health agencies such as the Pan-American Health Organization, we thought it prudent that we quarantine the ship", she said.


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