A passenger on a cruise ship visiting Alaska last week had the measles, according to health officials at the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, prompting concerns that other cruise passengers as well as air travelers may spread the virus.

The Juneau Empire newspaper reports that a teenager from Japan boarded the Norwegian Jewel cruise ship on August 6, 2018 for an Alaskan cruise, after flying from Tokyo to Vancouver a week earlier.

The cruise guest reportedly sailed aboard the Jewel which docked in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Glacier Bay before the cruise ended in Seward, Alaska.

The newspaper states that before the cruise, the girl experienced a rash, fever and cold-like symptoms after she travelled to  Thailand. She apparently had not been vaccinated for measles, mumps, or rubella.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services reportedly warned health care providers to look out for measles-like symptoms (rashes, runny noses, fevers, white spots and/or red eyes) from other passengers who may have contracted the disease.

The initial news accounts did not identify the cruise ship or cruise line with some accounts, like Radio Canada, mentioning only that an unnamed ship operated by Norwegian Cruise Line was involved.

The cruise passenger had flown to and from Portland before she went on the cruise from Vancouver.

Health officials stated that they believe the girl boarded the cruise ship with her parents on the fourth day after her symptoms began, which suggests that she was not highly contagious. The disease apparently has an incubation period of 7-21 days. Anyone who may have contracted the virus is expected to show symptoms before August 27th.

The Centre for Disease Control in British Columbia noted that measles is a highly infectious airborne disease, although transmission is reportedly unlikely.

Four years ago, a crew member aboard an unidentified cruise ship sailing to Alaska developed measles leading to concern that he may have infected cruise passengers.  A cruise passenger contacted us, indicating that she and other passengers aboard the Norwegian Pearl may have been exposed to the virus.

Earlier, a measles outbreak has occurred on the Costa Pacifica cruise ship; an Italian newspaper reported that that dozens of cruise passengers were probably infected with the virus that causes measles.

Have a thought? Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Photo credit: By A.jo Public Domain, commons / wikimedia.