Scientology Cruise Ship Quarantined Due to Measles Outbreak

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The vessel, named "Freewinds", is still moored there, St. Lucia Coast Guard Sgt. Victor Theodore told NBC News.

"This decision to [quarantine] the ship is in keeping with the health laws of St. Lucia", the St. Lucia health department said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday said that there are 704 confirmed cases of measles in 22 states in the United States, but measles outbreaks have also been reported around the globe.

Measles is highly infectious for those who aren't vaccinated and confined areas with large gatherings of people, such as a cruise ship, can increase risks of exposure.

Dr. Merlene Fredericks James, the country's chief medical officer, said medical officials believe other people on board the vessel could have been infected with the disease. "One infected person can easily infect others".

Dr Fredericks-James said St Lucia authorities were not holding the vessel. The quarantine came after a female crew member came down with measles.

No one is allowed to leave the ship, NBC reported, but the ship is allowed to leave St. Lucia.

NBC News reports that the Freewinds is now scheduled to leave port at 11:59 p.m. tonight. The ship is called "Freewinds" and is used as luxury retreat for elite followers of the church.

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The Church of Scientology has not responded to a request for comment from ABC News. In New York, the governor has even declared a state of emergency and imposed a series of restrictions on several communities outside New York City where vaccinations rates are low and measles outbreaks have been reported.

The Church of Scientology has various levels its members can attain that become more expensive as they progress.

Infection with nmeasles can be prevented if persons are fully immunized against the disease.

Scientology does not have an official position on vaccines, Rev. John Carmichael, the president of the Church of Scientology in NY, said in an interview with Beliefnet. But as The Hollywood Reporter notes, several high-profile Scientologists have spoken out against vaccination. She pointed to measles outbreaks in the U.S. as the primary motivation for taking the extreme step of caution.

With measles cases growing quickly, many adults are now wondering if they were vaccinated as children.

The vast majority of US cases have occurred in children who have not received vaccines against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), officials said.

The United States is now in the middle of a measles outbreak; the largest of its kind in 25 years.