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CDC Investigates Outbreak of Cruise Ship Norovirus Illness

February 24, 2014 — There have been four major outbreaks of norovirus on cruise ships this year. Health officials from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are investigating the latest outbreak, which has sickened 114 passengers and 10 crew members.

Norovirus is a highly-contagious disease that spreads in fecal matter. Infection causes explosive vomiting and diarrhea for 24-72 hours. Norovirus spreads easily on cruise ships, where thousands of people are confined in tight spaces and eat in communal buffets.

The outbreak occurred on the Holland America MS Veendam, during a 14-night cruise from San Diego, California to Fort Lauderdale, Florida through the Panama Canal. Of 1,272 passengers, approximately 9% got sick.

Health officials with the CDC boarded the vessel in Fort Lauderdale for an inspection on February 22. They also collected stool samples from sick passengers and crew members. Holland America states that the ship underwent a “thorough sanitization,” and two days later, the ship set sail on a 15-day cruise back to San Diego.

This is not the first time the ms Veendan has had problems. The ship failed a sanitation exam in September after inspectors found a brown liquid dripping on clean dishes and a fly in the buffet. The CDC rates cruise ships on a 100-point scale for sanitation, and the ms Veendam has a failing score of 77. There have been seven cases of illness outbreaks since the CDC started keeping track.

It’s been a bad year for norovirus on cruise ships. In January, the Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas had to cut its voyage short after 634 passengers and 55 crew members were infected with norovirus, earning the ship the nickname “Exploder of the Seas.” Outbreaks also occurred on a Caribbean Princess (181 out of 3,102 passengers) and a Norwegian Cruise Line Star (130 of 3,219).

Do I have a Cruise Ship Norovirus Lawsuit?

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting cruise ship induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been injured by an outbreak of norovirus on a cruise ship, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Cruise Ship Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.

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