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Fog falls as norovirus cuts short yet another cruise

February 3, 2014 Cruise, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59For the second time in a week, a norovirus-induced outbreak of vomiting and diarrhoea has terminated a cruise, forcing a cruise ship back to home port prematurely.

The latest victims were aboard the ship Caribbean Princess, operated by Princess Cruises. The company mentioned norovirus, but also cited “anticipated dense fog” as a cause for ending the cruise early, NBC in the US stated. Fog would generally be an extremely unusual reason for ending a cruise prematurely.

At least 192 people aboard Caribbean Princess came down ill during the cruise, the cruise line and the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention stated.

Norovirus - You Don't Want It'. Warning graphically sums up symptoms

‘Norovirus – You Don’t Want It’. Warning graphically sums up symptoms

That includes 181 of the 3102 passengers and 11 of the 1148 crew. The ship began a seven-day cruise to the western Caribbean on 25 January 2014 and returned a day early.

The US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) listed the causative agent as norovirus and said action by Princess Cruise Lines and the crew aboard Caribbean Princess included the following:

  • Increasing cleaning and disinfection procedures according to their outbreak prevention and response plan,
  • Making announcements to both notify onboard passengers of the outbreak and encourage case reporting,
  • Collecting stool specimens from ill passengers and crew for submission to the CDC lab. Samples tested with the vessel’s onboard rapid norovirus test were positive for norovirus. The specimens will be sent to the CDC lab for confirmatory analysis.

Just a few days earlier, Royal Caribbean cut short a 10-day Caribbean cruise aboard Explorer of the Seas after more than 600 passengers fell ill with vomiting and diarrhoea. It was another of several outbreaks of violent gastrointestinal illness to have struck travellers aboard cruise ships in various parts of the world over the past few weeks.

Royal Caribbean’s 10-day Caribbean ended two days prematurely.

“The disruptions caused by the early wave of illness means that we were unable to deliver the vacation our guests were expecting,” the company said in an issued statement. The ship was carrying 3050 passengers and a crew of 1165.

A couple of weeks ago, racked by retching and diarrhoea, dozens of cruise passengers aboard the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Majesty of the Seas disembarked in Miami.

On that occasion, Royal Caribbean said the sick passengers had responded well to over-the-counter medication administered aboard. Crew stepped up cleaning during the cruise to help prevent the illness spreading further.

Norovirus is also suspected of having caused dozens of passengers aboard Diamond Princess coming down sick on that ship’s last cruise. Diamond Princess arrived in the New Zealand North Island port of Tauranga on 15 January 2014 at the end of a voyage that began in Australia.

Diamond Princess was thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. As with Caribbean Princess and Majesty of the Seas, only a fraction of the passengers aboard came down ill. About 60 passengers out of some 3500 aboard Diamond Princess were said to have been affected. The worst outbreak in terms of numbers affected so far this year has been the one aboard Explorer of the Seas.

Written by Peter Needham

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