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Updates for the S/S Norway and Nantucket Clipper

Investigation Update - January 10, 2003

Since October 2002, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) has been following or investigating several instances of gastrointestinal illness aboard cruise ships. Outbreaks of gastrointestinal illness continue to be reported throughout the U.S. and subsequently, we continue to see an increase in the number of passengers with gastrointestinal illness on some cruises.

Cruise vessels sailing to U.S. Ports are required to notify the CDC of every case of gastrointestinal illness reported to the ships’ medical staff, for each cruise. This report must be filed 24 hours prior to arrival at a U.S. port, from a foreign port. If the number of passengers or crew ill reaches 2% during the cruise, the vessel is required to file a special report. The CDC continues to closely monitor these illness reports on a daily basis. An “outbreak” of gastrointestinal illness is defined as having 3% or more of either passengers or crew reported with a gastrointestinal illness.

Cruise vessels currently being closely monitored are:

S/S Norwayfor the cruise of December 28, 2002 – January 5, 2003, reported 105 of 2,204 passengers (4.8%) and 11 of 937 crew (1.2%) with gastrointestinal illness. Stool samples collected from ill passengers and crew have been analyzed and norovirus has been confirmed. Crew of the S/S Norway conducted extensive cleaning and disinfection, and the vessel sailed on January 5 for a 7-day cruise. VSP is working closely with the ship’s medical staff to monitor the situation.

Nantucket Clipperleft Charleston SC on December 28, 2002 on a relocation cruise to Belize. On January 1, 2003, the vessel filed a special report documenting 5 of 97 passengers (5.2%) and 5 of 34 crew (14.7%) with a gastrointestinal illness. The vessel is not scheduled to return to the U.S. until March 2003.

General Information

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 vsp@cdc.gov.


 
 
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