November 17, 2014 — An outbreak of norovirus has sickened at least 172 passengers and crew members aboard a Crown Princess cruise ship from Los Angeles to Hawaii to Tahiti and back.
About 4,100 people were aboard the cruise ship. Some of them began showing symptoms just days into the month-long voyage. They were treated aboard the ship.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) sent staff to meet the ship when it arrived in San Pedro. They will investigate the source of the outbreak and the response effort by Crown Princess, which will include a thorough sanitization of the ship.
Norovirus causes a highly-contagious disease, also known as the “winter vomiting bug.” Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever for about three days. It is the most common gastrointestinal illness, affecting 20 million Americans per year. It spreads though the fecal-oral route, usually by contaminated food, drinks, or surfaces.
This is the second time a norovirus outbreak has occurred on this ship this year, according to ABC News. In April, 129 passengers and crew members were sickened on a 7-day cruise off the California coast. The ship underwent the same sanitization process. Click here to read more.
Outbreaks of norovirus have plagued the cruise ship industry this year. Four outbreaks and over 1,000 illnesses were reported by four different cruise lines in January and February alone. When an outbreak sickens more than 2% of passengers, the CDC must be notified.
Crown Princess has responded by installing hand-sanitizing gel throughout the cruise ship. They also advise passengers to use the bathrooms in their own cabin. In most cases, passengers who show symptoms are asked to remain inside their cabins until symptoms disappear.
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