Investigation Update - December 4, 2002
During the span of October 2002 through December 2002, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) investigated several instances of gastrointestinal illness aboard cruise ships. VSP worked closely with cruise industry officials to identify the causes for the following are updates of investigations:
The Amsterdam returned to service on December 1 and is providing daily reports to CDC on the health status of passengers. As of the afternoon of December 4, the vessel reported that 2 of 1,208 passengers and 1 of 579 crew had gastrointestinal illness.
Previously, laboratory analysis confirmed that the cause of a recent outbreak aboard the vessel was Norwalk virus. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. The illness usually develops within 12 to 48 hours of exposure and lasts from 1 to 3 days.
On November 21, Holland America temporarily took the vessel out of service to do aggressive cleaning, to isolate infected crew, and to undertake other control measures.
The Magic remains in port in Port Everglades, Florida, and is undergoing intensive cleaning and disinfection. Last week, laboratory analysis confirmed that the cause of a recent outbreak of gastrointestinal illness aboard the vessel was Norwalk virus. CDC staff visited the vessel on December 3 to monitor the activities; they will return to the vessel on December 6. The vessel is expected to return to service on December 7.
CDC staff boarded the Fascination when the vessel returned to port in Miami on December 2 after a 3-day voyage. The vessel reported that 189 of 2,416 passengers and 13 of 895 crew experienced a gastrointestinal illness. The illness was characterized as mostly vomiting with some diarrhea. CDC staff collected food and ice samples; laboratory tests are pending.
The Seven Seas Mariner reported that 5 of 586 passengers and 16 of 449 crew experienced a gastrointestinal illness shortly after leaving Tenerife on a 15-day cruise; consequently, the cruise was terminated in Port Everglades, Florida, on December 2. Initial laboratory results have identified Salmonella as the causative organism, with shelled eggs as the suspected source. Samples of the eggs are being tested. Laboratory results are pending.
The Oceana departed Port Everglades, Florida, on November 29 on a 14-day Caribbean itinerary. As of December 4, CDC staff were notified by the vessel’s medical staff and the medical director of P&O UK that 114 of 1,859 passengers and 3 of 868 crew had reported to the ship’s infirmary with gastrointestinal illness. All of the passengers originated in the United Kingdom and flew on chartered aircraft to Ft. Lauderdale, the point of embarkation. Most of the ill passengers were reported to be on one chartered flight originating in Manchester, United Kingdom. CDC staff will board the vessel this week to conduct interviews with ill passengers and crew. CDC staff will conduct an environmental assessment and expedite the collection of stool specimens for shipment back to CDC. On November 29, the vessel underwent a routine, unannounced inspection. The Oceana scored 95 out of 100 points.
Cruise ship travelers are reminded that simple hygienic practices, such as frequent and thorough hand washing and avoiding contact with other passengers when ill, are important measures to prevent the spread of disease.
Additional information about CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program is available at http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/vsp.
Additional information on gastrointestinal diseases is available at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/gastro.htm.
Information on Norwalk-like viruses is available at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/rr/rr5009.pdf.
CDC protects people’s health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national, and international organizations.
For more information, CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.