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Federal Regulations for Reporting Death or Illness on Ships Destined for the United States

Federal Regulations

U.S. regulations (42 CFR 71.21) require the master of a ship destined for a U.S. port of entry to immediately report any death or illness among the ship’s passengers or crew. This includes persons who have disembarked or have been removed from the ship due to illness or death. Reports must immediately be made to the CDC Quarantine Station at or nearest the U.S. port of arrival. For ships arriving in the United States, this includes all deaths or illnesses that occurred within 15 days prior to arrival. For ships that have left the United States and will be returning to a U.S. port during the same voyage, this includes all deaths or illnesses that occurred within 15 days of departure.

Required Reporting

According to U.S. federal regulations, all deaths and ill persons displaying any of the following signs and symptoms must be reported to CDC:

  • (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)

Note: Cruise ships carrying 13 or more passengers should continue to report cases of acute gastroenteritis or diarrhea to CDC VSP.

Contacting a CDC Quarantine Station

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