2015 just 5 months in – Norovirus on Cruise ships back in force

ByRick Deutsch

2015 just 5 months in – Norovirus on Cruise ships back in force

We’ve talked a lot about the norovirus. Not to “beat a dead horse,” but I need to report that we are now up to nine incidents on cruise ships this year.

The latest happened on a Princess Ship….the Star Princess. This is a great ship and it will berth in San Francisco on May 14. They will be greeted by reps from the CDC. The Centers for Disease Control has a group called the “Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP)” and they confirmed it was norovirus.

Two VSP officers and two epidemiologists will board the ship in San Francisco to conduct an environmental health assessment and evaluate the outbreak and response activities.

In this case over 130 passengers got hit. That’s over 5% out of nearly 2600 pax. Add 18 crew and you have a major problem.  The virus gets to the lining of the digestive tract which then becomes inflamed. Plan on 3 days quarantine with diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and fever. Yuck

Norovirus common on cruise ships

Norovirus = no fun

The Oceania Marina had an outbreak got 69 passengers and 11 crew members sick. The CDC said it has not yet confirmed whether it was norovirus. While the publicity of the virus is mostly from Cruise ships, it’s said to be the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis in the U.S.. It causes about 20 million illnesses every year, but only about 1 percent of all reported norovirus outbreaks occur on cruise ships.

A recent study in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases showed that in hospitals these germs were found in 54 percent of sick patients’ rooms. They were also found in 38 percent of the hallways leading to these rooms and at 50 percent of the nursing stations. That means that it could be airborne.

The best way to help prevent norovirus is to practice proper hand washing and general cleanliness.

Let us know if you have experienced this on any of your cruises.

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