The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the Silver Nova cruise ship operated by Silversea Cruises is experiencing a gastrointestinal (GI) outbreak which has sickened 23 of 633 passengers (3.63%) and 1 of 538 crew members (0.19%). The predominant symptom reported by the CDC is diarrhea.

The CDC has not yet identified the causative agent for the GI outbreak. Sixteen (16) of the last seventeen (17) GI outbreaks on cruise ships, dating back to the beginning of last year, were due to norovirus (with one case attributable to Salmonella and E. coli). The CDC does not always determine the cause of the outbreak which in this case may be because the cruise ship has not yet called on a U.S. port where stool samples of the affected passengers can be collected and tested.

The Silver Nova is currently near the end of a 16 day, one-way “Easter Cruise” from Callao-Lima to Fort Lauderdale, which calls on Port Everglades tomorrow.

According to the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), norovirus outbreaks are primarily caused by eating contaminated food and/or drinking contaminated water.

This is the fourth (4th) GI outbreak on a cruise ship this year. Last year, there were fourteen (14th) outbreaks with Princess Cruises and Celebrity Cruises each experiencing three (3) outbreaks.

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April 15, 2024 Evening Update:

The number of infected passengers increased to 28 out of 633 (4.42%).

April 15, 2024 Update:

Because the Silver Nova is a new cruise ship (with its maiden voyage on August 14, 2023 and christened in January 2024), the ship has not yet had a bi-annual sanitation inspection by the CDC.

April 16, 2024 Update:

The New York Post, reporting on this outbreak, has it exactly correct when it writes: “The cause of the outbreak — which has impacted roughly 5% of the ship’s passenger population — is still unknown, but the CDC notes that norovirus outbreaks are primarily caused by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water.”

Image credit: Silver NovaNarwhalian1 – CC BY-SA 4.0 commons / wikimedia; gastrointestinal virusDr Graham Beards.