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Investigation Update on the Explorer of the Seas

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Investigation Update - March 7, 2006

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line reported an increased number of cases of gastrointestinal (GI) illness on the cruise ship, Explorer of the Seas, for the 7 day voyage completed on March 5, 2006, (sailing dates: 02/26/2006-03/05/2006) in Miami, FL.

On February 28, 2006, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line contacted CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) staff to report that an elevated number of Explorer of the Seas passengers and crew were experiencing symptoms that were consistent with acute gastroenteritis.

On March 5, the ship’s medical staff reported that 19 of 1184 (1.6%) crew were and 243 of 3245 (7.5%) passengers were ill. The predominant symptoms were diarrhea and vomiting. Stool specimens were collected and tested positive for norovirus.

On March 5, CDC staff boarded the ship in Miami to conduct an onboard environmental and epidemiological investigation, consult with onboard medical staff, observe cleaning and disinfection procedures, distribute crew and passenger surveys, and make recommendations.

The ship's staff continued it's increased cleaning and disinfection procedures, to monitor reports of illness, and provide daily updates to CDC. The number of ill passengers and crew and returned to expected levels two voyages later (sailing dates: 3/12/2006-3/19/2006). The illness returned to expected levels on the following voyage. For a detailed report about the investigation, click here.