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Guidance for Cruise Ships: How to Report Onboard Death or Illness to CDC

According to federal regulations, CDC requires the master of a ship destined for a U.S. port to report immediately any death or certain illnesses among the ship’s passengers or crew. CDC has outlined below how cruise ships should report deaths and illnesses (non-gastrointestinal) to the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine (DGMQ). Effective March 10, 2014, DGMQ changed its routing method for reporting illnesses and deaths on cruise ships. DGMQ will no longer accept death and illness reports via the Maritime Illness and Death Reporting System (MIDRS) Website or MIDRS e-mail after June 10, 2014.

Download, complete, and submit these fillable forms to DGMQ:

Exceptions to Reporting Illnesses on These Forms

Instructions for Reporting Deaths and Illnesses

Please DON’T submit any forms through e-mail that include personally identifiable information (PII). PII is any information that can be used alone or in combination to identify an individual. This includes names, addresses, phone numbers, dates (birth, hospital admission, travel), identifying numbers (passport, social security, driver’s license, alien), medical records, photographs, and for rare diseases, geographic locations.

  • Please download both forms and save them for future access. Use a separate Maritime Conveyance Illness or Death Investigation Form for each ill or deceased person.
  • Complete sections as instructed in the table below  on the Maritime Conveyance Illness or Death Investigation Form [PDF - 4 pages] and all sections  of the Maritime Conveyance Cumulative Influenza/Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) Form [PDF - 1 page] . You may type directly into the forms, or print them out and fill out by hand.
  • To submit the forms to the CDC Quarantine Station with jurisdiction over the next U.S. seaport of arrival, you have three options:
    1. Click on the gray "Send Via E-mail" button in the upper left-hand corner of each of the forms. (Note: In order to use this option, your e-mail account must be set up to automatically generate an e-mail message from a PDF), or save the forms, then attach to your e-mail and send them to MaritimeAdmin@cdc.gov, or
    2. Look up the contact information for the CDC Quarantine Station with jurisdiction over the next U.S. seaport of arrival at the CDC Quarantine Station web page and send by fax, or
    3. By telephone.
      If you choose option #1, your e-mailed report will automatically be sent to the CDC Quarantine Station, and you should receive an immediate confirmation e-mail. If you choose option #2 or #3 (fax or phone), a confirmation e-mail will be sent within 1 business day. The quarantine station will contact you if follow-up information is needed.
  • If you don’t receive confirmation of your report or if you have any questions, please contact the CDC Quarantine Station with jurisdiction over the next U.S. port of arrival, the CDC Emergency Operations Center at 770-488-7100, or the Maritime Activity Administrator (MaritimeAdmin@cdc.gov).
  • Please DON’T submit Section 5  (General Information about Ill or Deceased Person) on the Maritime Conveyance Illness or Death Investigation Form unless the quarantine station asks you to do so.
    Note: Because this section contains PII, you won’t be able to type any information directly into the fillable PDF form. You will need to print out this section of the form and fill it out by hand. Then submit Section 5  only by fax or by telephone.

Instructions for Cumulative Influenza/Influenza-Like Illness Report

CDC requests reporting of total influenza/influenza-like illness (ILI) cases (including zero)—not individual case information—for each voyage by using the Maritime Conveyance Cumulative Influenza/Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) Form [PDF - 1 page] . Complete all sections of this fillable form.

Immediately report the following situations to the CDC Quarantine Station with jurisdiction over the U.S. seaport where the ship is expected to arrive:

  • Changes in the clinical profile and severity of illnesses reported or severe complications
    in at least two epidemiologically linked influenza cases.
  • Outbreaks of influenza or ILI (exceeding 1.380 cases per 1,000 traveler days) among passengers or crew members.
  • Death caused by or suspected to be associated with influenza or ILI onboard the vessel.

Illness Type and Signs and Symptoms to Report by Federal Regulations

Required: Death/Disease/Symptoms to Report

Complete Sections 1–4 of the Maritime Conveyance Illness or Death Investigation Form [PDF - 4 pages]
  • Death
  • Quarantinable Diseases (both suspected or confirmed) listed in the President’s Executive Order: cholera, diphtheria, infectious tuberculosis, plague, smallpox, yellow fever, viral hemorrhagic fevers, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and novel influenza viruses.
  • Signs and symptoms of public health interest included in the Federal Regulations:
    • Fever* >48 hours
    • Fever + rash
    • Fever + swelling of the lymph glands
    • Fever + jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
    • Diarrhea (three or more loose stools or a greater than normal number of loose stools in a 24-hour period)

Note: Cruise ships carrying 13 or more passengers should continue to report diarrhea cases to the CDC-Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP)

* Medical staff should consider someone to have a fever if the ill person feels warm to the touch, gives a history of feeling feverish, or has an actual measured temperature of 100° F (37.8° C) or greater.

Requested: Disease/Symptoms to Report

Complete Sections 1–4 of the Maritime Conveyance Illness or Death Investigation Form [PDF - 4 pages]
  • Signs and symptoms of public health interest for which DGMQ requests reporting:
    • Fever* + difficulty breathing or suspected/confirmed pneumonia
    • Fever + persistent cough or cough with bloody sputum
    • Fever + headache with neck stiffness
    • Fever + reduced level of consciousness
    • Fever + unexplained bleeding
    • Fever + persistent vomiting
  • Varicella (chickenpox): Complete Sections 1-3 only.

Note: Cruise ships carrying 13 or more passengers should continue to report gastrointestinal cases to CDC-VSP

* Medical staff should consider someone to have a fever if the ill person feels warm to the touch, gives a history of feeling feverish, or has an actual measured temperature of 100° F (37.8° C) or greater.

Requested: Influenza / Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) to Report

Complete all sections of the Maritime Conveyance Cumulative Influenza/Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) Form [PDF - 1 page]

Influenza and influenza-like illness (ILI): Fever (temperature of 100°F [37.8°C] or greater) and a cough and/or a sore throat without a KNOWN cause other than influenza

CDC requests the reporting of total influenza-like illness (ILI)/influenza cases (including zero) for each voyage by using this form.

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