Health Highlights: May 2, 2019

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Measles Case Leads to Quarantine of Cruise Ship in St. Lucia

A case of measles has led to the quarantine of a cruise ship with nearly 300 passengers and crew on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, health officials reported Wednesday.

They said that one female crew member has a confirmed case of measles and that the ship has been under quarantine since Monday morning. The ship is scheduled to leave late Thursday, NBC News reported.

“The ship’s doctor has the confirmed case in isolation on the ship,” Dr. Merlene Fredericks-James, St. Lucia’s chief medical officer, said in a statement. “The individual is in stable condition.”

Fredericks-James also said that it’s “likely that other persons on the boat may have been exposed.”

The island’s health officials did not name the cruise ship under quarantine, but St. Lucia Coast Guard Sgt. Victor Theodore told NBC News that its name is “Freewinds.”

That’s the name of a cruise ship owned and operated by the Church of Scientology, according to NBC News.

In other measles-related news, health officials say people who went to a movie theater in Orange County, Calif., last Thursday may have been exposed to measles.

A woman in her 20s with the measles attended a midnight screening of the “Avengers: Endgame” movie at the AMC Dine-In Fullerton 20 on Thursday from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m, the Orange County Health Care Agency said, CNN reported.

The agency said that everyone who was in the building may have been exposed, not just people who saw that particular movie, the agency said.

It also said that people who went to buildings at 5 Hutton Centre Drive in Santa Ana from last Wednesday through Friday may have been exposed to measles by the same woman, who recently traveled to a country with widespread measles activity, CNN reported.

She is under voluntary isolation at home in Placentia, the agency said.

This is first confirmed measles case in Orange County this year. There have been 38 reported cases of measles in 11 California counties this year, according to the state health department’s website, CNN reported.


Affordable Care Act Should be Struck Down: Trump Administration

The Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional and should be struck down, the Trump administration said in a federal appeals court filing Wednesday.

The filing shows that the administration has abandoned its earlier stance that some portions of the act — such as a provision permitting states to expand their Medicaid programs — should remain, The New York Times reported.

The filing was made in a case challenging the law brought by the attorney general of Texas and 17 other Republican-led states. Late last year, a federal judge from the Northern District of Texas ruled the act unconstitutional.

An appeal was launched by California and 20 other Democratic-led states and the case is now before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. The House of Representatives has joined the defense of the law, The Times reported.

If the entire act is struck down, about 21 million Americans could lose their health insurance.


Dengue Vaccine Approved by FDA

The dengue vaccine Dengvaxia has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, but it’s use is limited to people aged 9 to 16.

The vaccine has already been approved in 19 countries and the European Union.

Dengvaxia is not approved for use in people not previously infected by dengue virus. In these people, Dengvaxia acts like a first dengue infection and a subsequent infection can result in severe dengue disease, according to the FDA.

Dengue disease is the most common mosquito-borne viral disease in the world. About 400 million dengue infections occur worldwide each year, leading to about 20,000 deaths, primarily among children, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dengue cases are rare in the continental U.S., but the disease is regularly found in American Samoa, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as Latin America, Southeast Asia and the Pacific islands, the FDA said.