Sunday, February 5, 2012
HUNDREDS FALL ILL ON CRUISE SHIPS
The cruise ship industry has been hit with a lot of bad publicity lately. First, there was the Costa Concordia disaster off the coast of Italy. And now, two Princess Cruises ships, limping into port in Florida with hundreds of very miserable passengers and crew on board due to Norovirus outbreaks.
We don't know how the virus got on board both ships, but the chances are that it boarded with the food, most likely from a common source, and spread from there. This virus is very contagious, very common on cruise ships and probably the most common cause of food poisoning. It can spread not just through food itself, but also passenger to passenger, through surfaces where droplets of vomit have landed and many other ways.
The Crown Princess, has so far reported 140 people, or about 4 percent of passengers to be ill, plus 18 members of the crew. On the Ruby Princess, 81 passengers - 2 percent of the total- and nine crew members have been reported ill so far.
Two things you can be sure of: one, these numbers will increase, and secondly, the ships will be extremely difficult to clean up. In fact, history of such outbreaks shows that there will be increased risk of another Norovirus outbreak on subsequent cruises in spite of all the efforts made.
If you are thinking of going ahead with a planned cruise, or, have a family member or friend who will do so, check out the several earlier posts on this blog which will help you to be one of the people who stays healthy.
Is Cruise Ship Food Safe to Eat? - 2/25/11
Why are Cruise Ships Risky Places to Eat - 2/26/11
How to Avoid Getting Sick on a Cruise Ship - 2/25/11
Cruising May be No Carnival if You Get Food Poisoning - 1/10/12
To your good health,
UPDATE: 02/7/12 - Two more cruise ships have reported Norovirus outbreaks in the past few days and the number of illnesses on the Princess cruises has risen (see later posts).
UPDATE" 01/7/13 - Almost a year later, outbreaks continue, including on Princess cruises. See most more recent posts.
UPDATE: 1/28/14 - The latest reported outbreak with perhaps as many as 600 ill passengers and crew (see post of 1/26/14 -
"Another Outbreak on a Cruise Ship") is on the Royal Caribbean line ship "Explorer of the Seas."