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Investigation Update on the Mercury

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Investigation Update - March 27, 2006

Celebrity Cruises reported an increased number of cases of gastrointestinal (GI) illness on the cruise ship, Mercury, for the 11 day voyage completed on March 27, 2006, (sailing dates: 3/17/2006-3/27/2006) in San Diego, CA.

On March 21, 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 acute gastroenteritis and that the higher number of ill passengers and crew was consistent from the previous voyage. The predominant symptoms were diarrhea and vomiting.

On March 24, VSP staff boarded the ship in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to sail 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.

The ship’s medical staff reported that at the end of the voyage, 24 of 844 (2.84%) crew were and 107 of 1986 (5.39%) passengers were ill. Stool specimens were collected and tested positive for norovirus.

The ship's staff continued increased cleaning and disinfection procedures and provided daily updates to CDC throughout the voyage with sailing dates: 3/27/2006-4/7/2006. On April 6, medical staff reported that number of ill passengers and crew had returned back to expected levels.