JUNEAU, Alaska – A Norovirus outbreak aboard a Princess Cruises ship has garnered the attention of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Two CDC officials boarded the Dawn Princess Friday while it was docked in Juneau to investigate the outbreak. The Dawn Princess was sailing across Asia on an extended itinerary when the Norovirus outbreak occurred. The CDC reported that 114 passengers and 11 crew members contracted the illness during the voyage.
Norovirus is an illness that affects the intestines and commonly leads to gastroenteritis, also known as the “stomach flu.” It is transmitted by person to person contact, through contaminated food or water, or by touching surfaces that are contaminated with the virus. Symptoms include stomach pain, diarrhea and vomiting.
According to the CDC, Norovirus is extremely contagious, causing approximately 21 million illnesses a year in the United States alone and leading to roughly 800 deaths. There is no specific treatment for the illness, but infected persons should remain well hydrated to fight off the virus as quickly as possible.
Cases usually resolve on their own within two to three days, but due to the high risk of contamination, the CDC recommends individuals wash their hands frequently to avoid contracting the virus or spreading it.
Princess Cruises Alaska manager Kirby Day claims only two cases remained when the Dawn Princess was docked in Juneau. The CDC explained crew members took precautions to halt the spread of the virus as much as possible, notifying passengers and crew of the outbreak and immediately commencing disinfection procedures.
Authorities report the Dawn Princess has been cleared and left Glacier Bay en route to Vancouver, British Columbia.
This isn’t the first time passengers and crew members are stricken with a Norovirus outbreak aboard a Princess Cruises ship. Nearly 500 cases of Norovirus were reported aboard two Princess Cruises ships in Florida last February, the Ruby Princess and the Crown Princess, both of which are based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
While Norovirus can spread quickly, cruise ships need to take proper precautions to ensure their crew and passengers never have to deal with an outbreak. Employing proper sanitation methods is critical to maintaining the safety and health of those who are aboard a ship, but unfortunately, this doesn’t always occur.
When a virus is uncovered aboard a vessel, ship authorities must hastily work to isolate it. There are times when crew alone can halt the spread of a virus but other times, they are the direct propagators. Crew members sometimes fail to wash their hands, sanitize utensils, bed sheets, and other materials passengers come into contact with, facilitating the spread of diseases like Norovirus.
If you or a loved one contracted an illness aboard a cruise, it is imperative you contact a leading cruise injury lawyer to discuss your rights.
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Published on September 11, 2012
Categories: Cruise Ship Law