The Miami Herald reports today that a tourist from the U.K. who died from Legionnaires' disease had previously sailed on a seven-day Caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas.
The newspaper identifies the English cruise passenger as Mr. Tore Myhra.
Previously, there was speculation that Mr. Myhra may have contracted the disease at a local hotel here in Miami, the luxurious Epic Hotel & Residences. However, the U.S. Center for Disease Control ("CDC") said that the hotel was not implicated in his death because another person who died of the same strain of Legionella had not stayed at the hotel.
The Herald's article today raises the issue whether Mr. Myhra was exposed to Legionella on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship. The newspaper quotes the medical examiner's report that Mr. Myhra became sick on the cruise ship and suffered "nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, respiratory difficulty and dry cough.''
The newspaper reports that when the Liberty of the Seas ship returned to port in Miami on October 31st, Mr. Myhra was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital. His symptoms worsened and he died of "Legionella pneumophila pneumonia" on November 1st at the hospital.
Royal Caribbean's PR spokesperson, Cynthia Martinez, is quoted as saying that the cruise ship "reacted quickly" to the report of the Legionnaires' case. It is less than clear what this means, because the cruise ship kept the sick passenger on the ship and did not request a medevac with the Coast Guard.
The Herald also interviewed a spokesman from the Center for Disease Control. The newspaper reports that the CDC has investigated "five or six cases of Legionnaires' disease aboard cruise ships going in and out of South Florida in the past three months."
The CDC representative appears to be assisting the cruise line in damage control, based on the CDC's quotes in the newspaper:
"All appropriate steps have been taken.''
"Cruise ships are very aggressive in responding to such outbreaks."
Cruising is "a very safe endeavor.''
The CDC refused to identify the cruise ships where passengers contracted Legionnaires' disease, which is unfortunate because this should be public information. The obvious question remains - did the Liberty of the Seas have prior cases of Legionella?
It makes me nervous when a Federal agency acts like a cheerleader for the cruise lines while refusing to disclose public information regarding which cruise ships may have Legionella.
The South Florida Business Journal has an excellent article today "Legionnaire's May Be Linked to Ship." The articles refers to comments posted on the popular CruiseCritic site that a passenger on the Liberty of the Seas had been diagnosed with Legionnaire's, so the H20 Zone and hot tubs were closed . . .
Cruise Ship - Legionella Information:
Legionella cells scienceblogs.com
Legionella in lungs nalcoeurope.com
Liberty of the Seas hassocka5489 (via wikemedia commons)