All you need to know:
Julian Bray Writes: A newsreader on the BBC earlier today said that Norovirus (the Winter Vomiting Bug- but no respecter of seasons) is common on cruise ships, well that's not strictly true there are outbreaks in many closed communities such as hospitals.
In my role as a guest lecturer on board many different cruise ships over the years. I've witnessed several outbreaks and the work put in by ships crews to contain the outbreak. On BBC local radio stations later today I'll explain what is involved and how you can possibly avoid it; for example stop shaking hands use fist bumps instead and be totally obsessive about frequent hand washing!
In Spain, drinking from contaminated 'bottled' office water coolers, over 4,000 persons went down with the vomiting bug. People in Catalonia in north eastern Spain were infected in April 2016 by norovirus. Local health officials claimed the infection was caused by the consumption of contaminated bottled water.
According to the health department of the regional government of Catalonia, around 4,146 people were infected by norovirus after drinking water from office water coolers. The water was contaminated with human faecal matter.....
There are however a greater number of outbreaks on OLDER cruise ships such as Balmoral and its not the fault of the operators, but us passengers!
More than 250 cruise ship passengers were confined to their rooms after contracting the "winter vomiting bug" Norovirus, with crew members also succumbing to the illness.
Cruise passengers on board the ship Balmoral, which left from Southampton, UK, on 16 April, were confirmed to have the virus after staff from the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) boarded the vessel in the US responding to officially released mandated reports from the ships medical staff that passengers had become ill during the transatlantic voyage.
Although the virus was detected last month, an initial statement from Fred Olsen Cruise Lines stating just seven people were in isolation, however now 252 passengers of 919 on board and eight staff members have now come down with the bug, which causes vomiting and diarrhoea, and have been confined to their cabins.
This is taken from official government documentation:
Prior to embarkation passengers should receive a routine health questionnaire and information about the symptoms and signs of
This should include the potential impact on other passengers and the recommendations for helping both to prevent illness and the action passengers should take if they do become ill with possible Norovirus.
Risk assessment and response to suspected outbreak
Evidence of any public or concealed vomiting or diarrhoea should be investigated and managed by immediately implementing aggressive local disinfection and isolation procedures.
Guidance and criteria for declaration of an outbreak of Norovirus
NOTE: Nausea alone can be due to sea sickness.
The majority of passengers on board the ship, which is now docked in Maine USA are from the UK, with several guests from the US, more than 25% of people on the ship contracting the virus, according to the CDC.
It is the second time the Balmoral has been hit with Norovirus, with an outbreak reported during a cruise in Scotland in 2009, with a female passenger who boarded with the virus blamed for the outbreak.
In 2016 so far, eight ships that have docked in the US, including the Balmoral, have reported outbreaks of the virus – the worst being the Balmoral – and two have reported unknown outbreaks of illness.
More than 1,100 people so far this year were recorded by US authorities as falling ill on cruise ships that had docked in the country.
JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581 Aviation Expert, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Expert, Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industry, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476 www.aviationcomment.com