The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued an investigation update on the Norovirus outbreak on the Dawn Princess cruise ship. The ship of part of the Princess Cruises cruise line.
Voyage dates were August 21 to September 13, 2012. The number of passengers on the ship is 1,778, and crew members is 851. The passengers who reported being ill numbered 114, or 6.41%, and the number of crew who reported being ill numbered 11, or 1.29%. The symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea are consistent with Norovirus infection.
The crew on the ship have taken preventative action according to their outbreak prevention and response plan. They have increased cleaning and disinfection procedures, made announcements to notify passengers of the outbreak, and encouraged reporting and hygiene. They have also collected stool specimens from the ill persons, tested them using a rapid Norovirus test, and made reports to the VSP two times a day.
Norovirus, also known as Norwalk Virus, causes viral gastroenteritis. The only more common virus is the common cold. Any place where people are confined, such as nursing homes, hospitals, and cruise ships, are the most common places for Norovirus infections. Person-to-person transmission is very easy and any ill person who doesn’t wash their hands can touch a surface and contaminate it.
Two CDC Vessel Sanitation Program environmental health officers will board the ship when it arrives in Juneau, Alaska on September 7, 2012 to conduct an environmental health assessment. They will also evaluate the outbreak and the crew’s response to it. The ship will most likely be “super sanitized” in Seward, Alaska.