A newspaper in Italy is reporting that four crew members of the cruise ship MSC Orchestra have contracted bacterial meningitis. Two of the four crew members are considered to be in serious condition. They were all hospitalized once the cruise ship reached port yesterday.
According to this newspaper, one crew member is a 32 year old Indonesian who is currently in septic shock in the intensive care unit of a hospital in Livorno, Italy. He apparently worked in the engine room. A second crew member is a 47 year old Italian who works in the cruise ship's galley, who also is in the intensive care unit. Two other crew members include a Brazilian and a Filipino, whose conditions are described as less serious. They are hospitalized in the hospital's infectious disease department.
Other newspapers state that the serious cases involve an Indonesian, age 32, and a Filipino, age 30, both of whom worked in the engine room.
Meningitis is an infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. Bacterial meningitis is very serious and can be fatal. It is not common on cruise ships, although it has occurred on other cruise ships as this case illustrates.
All of the crew members were given prophylactic antibiotics, which were also offered to the passengers. The 2,800 dosages were described as an "unprecedented quantity over a period of time so limited." The medicine consisted of an antibiotic tablet of 500 milligrams for adults and syrup for about 400 children who were on board. An epidemiological survey was also conducted among the crew members who in recent days have been most in contact with the hospitalized crew.
The Orchestra is continuing its cruise as planned and has meanwhile docked in France's Villafranche, with next stops including Valencia, Ibiza, Tunis, Catania and Naples.
Photo credit: Wikipedia (Ömür Tanyel)