(4:45 p.m. EDT) -- Two crewmembers on Celebrity Equinox, the brand-new ship scheduled to debut 31 July in Southampton, have fallen ill with measles.
Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez tells us that 11 other crewmembers -- close contacts with those who are infected with the highly contagious respiratory disease -- are currently in quarantine. No other crewmembers have tested positive (by blood test) or show symptoms of the virus, which include a rash, high fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes.
As a hedge against the spread, the line has ordered 1,000 doses of measles vaccines, which will be distributed to crewmembers who either haven't been or can't remember being vaccinated. People from many countries, including the United States and United Kingdom, receive MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccines in early childhood. The international nature of a crew means that there are those from countries that don't require the vaccinations.
Martinez told Cruise Critic that the ship's staff acted quickly in isolating the infected crewmembers. In addition, Celebrity has been in close contact with local public health officials in Southampton. Two public health officials boarded ship to monitor the situation; an additional visit has been planned, but no date has been given.
So what about the two weeks of planned festivities scheduled to lead up to the ship's splash U.K. launch on 31 July? Martinez tells us that the illnesses shouldn't affect anything.
--by Dan Askin, Associate Editor
Two Celebrity Crewmembers Stricken with Measles
July 17, 2009