Miami's WSVM Channel 7 television station is bringing us some bad news this Christmas Eve, reporting that passengers aboard a Princess Cruises cruise ship sailing on the high seas are ill with the dreaded norovirus.
According to News Station 7, more than 150 passengers and crew members reportedly caught the norovirus aboard the Emerald Princess.
This is the second Princess cruise ship in a week to report cases of the contagious virus. The Crown Princess sailed to Galveston with over 100 cruise passengers and crew members ill with norovirus. You can read several comments by passengers criticizing the food serving and hygiene on the cruise ship
The news station states that crews will sanitize the ship once it docks at Port Everglades on Thursday, whatever that means.
The sick passengers and crew were reportedly confined to their cabins to prevent a further spread of the disease on the 10-day cruise.
As far as cruise ships calling on U.S. ports, Princess Cruises has by far the most gastrointestinal illness outbreaks - with all of the cases involving norovirus. According to the data collected by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), of the total number of 15 outbreaks, this is the ninth sailing with an illness outbreak on Princess cruise ships this year alone:
The Crown Princess suffered two outbreaks in January and February; the Ruby Princess in February; the Sun Princess in July; the Dawn Princess in August and September; the Ruby Princess again in October; the Crown Princess again in December; and now the Emerald Princess.
As year 2012 ends, Princess has experienced more than 50% of the CDC documented gastrointestinal cases. Considering there are 26 cruise lines associated with the Cruise Line International Association, one cruise line having more than 50% of the sicknesses is quite a feat!
Princess' standard operating procedure is to always blame the passengers for bringing the virus aboard. Let's wait and hear what Princess says this time. Who wants to make a bet that the cruise line PR representatives point the finger at the poor people spending Christmas Eve puking in their staterooms?
Anyone sailing on the Emerald Princess have comments about the latest norovirus outbreak?
December 26, 2012 Update: The Global Dispatch states:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Vessel Sanitation Program team will be boarding Princess Cruises’ “Emerald Princess” as it arrives in Ft. Lauderdale Dec. 27 to investigate an outbreak of yet unknown etiology, which has sickened nearly 200 passengers and crew.
According to health officials, a total of 166 passengers and 30 crew were sickened with the symptoms of diarrhea and vomiting, resembling norovirus. The voyage dates for the cruise were from Dec. 17 to Dec. 27.
The CDC said the cruise ship took the following actions in response to the outbreak to include cleaning and sanitizing, making announcements to notify passengers and crew and to encourage hand hashing, collecting stool samples for laboratory analysis and reporting twice daily to CDC officials.
This outbreak follows a norovirus outbreak reported aboard a “Crown Princess” cruise destined for Galveston, TX. More than 100 passengers and crew were sickened in this outbreak, according to a Chron.com report earlier this week.
Norovirus is a highly contagious illness caused by infection with a virus of the same name. It is often called by other names, such as viral gastroenteritis, stomach flu, and food poisoning.
The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and some stomach cramping. Sometimes people additionally have a low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and a general sense of tiredness. The illness often begins suddenly, and the infected person may feel very sick. In most people, the illness is self-limiting with symptoms lasting for about 1 or 2 days. In general, children experience more vomiting than adults do.
Norovirus is spread person to person particularly in crowded, closed places. Norovirus is typically spread through contaminated food andwater, touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus and then putting your hand or fingers in your mouth and close contact with someone who is vomiting or has diarrhea.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia (Holger.Ellgaard)