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June 14, 2000
Contact: Oona Powell
CDC, National Center for Environmental Health
(770) 488–4893
CDC, Division of Media Relations
(404) 639–3286

CDC's Investigation of Gastroenteritis Aboard a Disney Cruise Ship

On June 4, 2000, Disney Cruise Lines contacted the CDC Vessel Sanitation Program to report a higher than expected number of cases of diarrhea and vomiting among passengers and crew aboard the Disney Magic for the cruise of June 2-5, 2000. In collaboration with Disney Cruise Lines, CDC conducted an on-board investigation to determine the cause of the outbreak and to make immediate recommendations to protect the public health of both passengers and crew members aboard the vessel.

An epidemiological, environmental and laboratory investigation was conducted including the collection of food and stool specimens for analysis at CDC’s laboratories. Final laboratory results of the investigation are still pending, however initial results identified a variety of bacterial pathogens among the clinical specimens collected from ill passengers during the cruise.

Affected passengers, who are still experiencing symptoms, are advised to contact their health care provider and to advise their provider that they may have been exposed to a bacterial pathogen aboard the Disney Magic. Clinicians should not only look for routine diarrheal pathogens, but also specifically request bacterial cultures and sensitivities as well as analysis for ova and parasites.

CDC began inspecting cruise ships in the 1970’s as a cooperative effort with the cruise ship industry. The program assists the industry in fulfilling its responsibility for developing and implementing comprehensive sanitation programs to minimize the risk for gastrointestinal diseases.

Additional information about CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program is online at http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/vsp

Additional information on gastrointestinal diseases is online at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/gastro.htm


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