Guidance for Cargo 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. Effective on March 21, 2017, the definition of ill person under CDC regulations changed. This change, found in 42 Code of Federal Regulations part 71.1, clarifies the list of signs and symptoms that may indicate a person is ill with a communicable disease of public health concern. There is no change to the methods for reporting these illnesses or deaths to CDC. To report an illness or death onboard, use the Maritime Conveyance Illness or Death Investigation Form pdf icon[PDF – 4 pages].

The only exception is reporting Legionnaires’ disease. To report a case of Legionnaires’ disease, please e-mail travellegionella@cdc.gov. For more information about Legionnaires’ disease, visit CDC Respiratory Diseases Branch (RDB).

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.

By email

Click on the gray “Send Via E-mail” button in the upper left-hand corner of the form. (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 form, then attach it to your e-mail and send it to MaritimeAdmin@cdc.gov. If you choose this option, your e-mailed report will automatically be sent to the CDC Quarantine Station, and you should receive an immediate confirmation e-mail.

By fax or by telephone

Look up the contact information for the CDC Quarantine Station with jurisdiction over the next U.S. seaport of arrival to obtain information and send by fax, or call.

If you choose option fax or phone, a confirmation e-mail will be sent within 1 business day to the email address provided with the report. 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.
  • Please DON’T submit Section 5 (General Information about Ill or Deceased Person) 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.

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 icon[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 syndromes, and novel influenza viruses.
  • Signs and symptoms of serious disease or of public health interest included in the Federal Regulations:
    • (A) Fever (has a measured temperature of 100.4 °F [38 °C] or greater; or feels warm to the touch; or gives a history of feeling feverish) accompanied by one or more of the following:
      • skin rash,
      • difficulty breathing or suspected or confirmed pneumonia,
      • persistent cough or cough with bloody sputum,
      • decreased consciousness or confusion of recent onset,
      • new unexplained bruising or bleeding (without previous injury),
      • persistent vomiting (other than sea sickness),
      • headache with stiff neck;

      OR

    • (B) Fever that has persisted for more than 48 hours;
      OR
    • (C) Acute gastroenteritis, which means either:
      • diarrhea, defined as three or more episodes of loose stools in a 24-hour period or what is above normal for the individual, or
      • vomiting accompanied by one or more of the following: one or more episodes of loose stools in a 24-hour period, abdominal cramps, headache, muscle aches, or fever (temperature of 100.4 °F [38 °C] or greater);

      OR

    • (D) Symptoms or other indications of communicable disease, as the Director may announce through posting of a notice in the Federal Register. (CDC will notify partners in applicable industries as well as posting on the CDC website).

* 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 100.4 °F [38 °C]) or greater.

Complete Sections 1-4 of the Maritime Conveyance Illness or Death Investigation Form pdf icon[PDF – 4 pages]