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Investigation Update on the Mercury

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Investigation Update - March 17, 2006

Celebrity Cruises reported an increased number of cases of gastrointestinal (GI) illness on the cruise ship, Mercury, for the 12 day voyage completed on March 17, 2006, (sailing dates: 3/6/2006-3/17/2006) in San Diego, CA.

On March 14, 2006, Celebrity Cruises contacted CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) staff to report that an elevated number of Mercury passengers and crew were experiencing symptoms that were consistent with gastrointestinal illness. The predominant symptoms were diarrhea and vomiting.

On March 17, the ship’s medical staff reported that 14 of 840 (1.67%) crew were and 191 of 1902 (10.04%) passengers were ill. Stool specimens were collected and tested positive for norovirus.

The ship's staff provided daily updates to CDC throughout the following voyage (sailing dates: 3/17/2006-3/27/2006). The medical staff reported a higher number of ill passenger and crew than expected. On March 24, VSP staff boarded the ship in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and sailed for the remainder of the voyage to conduct an environmental and an epidemiological investigation. VSP staff consulted with onboard medical staff, observed cleaning, and disinfection procedures, distributed a survey to determine the cause of illness, and made recommendations.