Yesterday we received information about the current cruise of the Oceania Rivieria which is sailing through the Caribbean (Miami March 20-April 3). "The captain came on the intercom yesterday informing the passengers that a large number of passengers had come down with flu like/gastrointestinal issues and the CDC had been informed. The ship ported at their first stop Santa Marta, Colombia as scheduled today."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has now officially reported the third norovirus outbreak on the cruise ship.
The first recent outbreak was during the November 18 – December 2, 2015 sailing and involved 74 ill passengers. The second outbreak occurred during the February 12-22, 2016 sailing which had to be ended early and involved at least 124 sick passengers. We wrote about how the crew members had to work overtime, often off the clock and without extra pay, to try and super-clean the cruise ship.
This latest outbreak involves at least 52 passengers who are ill with norovirus. Zero crew members were reported ill during the current cruise.
Unfortunately, the under-staffed CDC never tries to conduct a meaningful epidemiology assessment to determine whether the outbreak can be traced to a particular type of food contamination, an ill food handler, poor cleaning of the ship or an ill passenger who brought the noro aboard the ship.
Expect the number of affected passengers to increase during the cruise notwithstanding the extra hours spraying and wiping by the crew.
So far this year, there have been 8 gastrointestinal outbreaks reported to the CDC by cruise ships calling on U.S ports.
Photo Credit: Kefalonitis94 CC BY-SA 4.0, creative commons / wikimedia.