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Scientology cruise ship passengers cleared of measles risk, the church says

The Freewinds cruise ship owned by the Church of Scientology is seen docked in quarantine at the Point Seraphine terminal in Castries, Saint Lucia, on May 2, 2019, after a measles case was detected onboard.Images Copyright Kirk Elliott
Copyright Kirk Elliott
By Elisha Fieldstadt with NBC News World News
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"All passengers and crew (100%) of the Freewinds have been fully cleared of any possible risk of being infected by the measles or infecting others," the Church of Scientology said.


All of the passengers and crew of a cruise ship owned and operated by the Church of Scientology have been cleared from risk of spreading or contracting measles after a female staffer on board was isolated with the highly contagious disease, Scientology officials said Tuesday.

The ship, named the Freewinds, was originally quarantined in St. Lucia late last month before it set sail for its home port of Curacao with about 300 people on board.

Those aboard the ship who had been vaccinated or had the measles before were free to leave the 440-foot vessel, health officials said on May 4. Everyone else would be vaccinated while on board. A doctor aboard the ship had ordered about 100 doses of the measles vaccine before leaving St. Lucia.

On Wednesday, a Church of Scientology statement said, "All passengers and crew (100%) of the Freewinds have been fully cleared of any possible risk of being infected by the measles or infecting others."

"Freewinds protocols of safety and medical care, that exceed usual nautical standards, proved highly effective in containing the illness to one single case." the statement said. The statement didn't mention the condition of the staffer who had the measles. Officials previously said she was in stable condition.

Measles causes fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes and rashes. While most people recover, complications can cause brain swelling and death.

More than 700 people in the U.S. have been sickened by the disease this year — the highest number of reported cases in a year since 1994. Officials say the sudden spike is due to misinformation about vaccines.

The Church of Scientology had not previously responded to NBC News' requests for comment about the ship. The Freewinds is "home of the Flag Ship Service Organization (FSSO), a religious retreat ministering the most advanced level of spiritual counseling in the Scientology religion," the church's website says.

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