The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting that there are illness outbreaks on two Christmas cruises in the Caribbean. One outbreak is on the Cunard Line Queen Mary 2, with voyage dates of December 22, 2012 to January 3, 2013. The second is the Princess Cruises Emerald Princess, with voyage dates of December 17 to December 27, 2012. The cause of the outbreaks has not been determined, but it may be norovirus, which often strikes enclosed areas such as cruise ships and nursing homes.
On the Cunard Line cruise, 201 out of 2,613 passengers, and 14 out of 1,255 crew have reported illness of vomiting and diarrhea. The causative agent is unknown at this time. The crew is disinfecting the ship, and an extra medical staff and a public health officer have been sent to the ship. Twice daily reports about the illnesses are made, and the crew is consulting with CDC for their comprehensive sanitation procedures in New York when the passengers disembark.
The Emerald Princess reported 189 of 3,235 passengers ill with vomiting and diarrhea, and 31 of 1,189 crew members sick. The crew of that ship has taken the same steps as the Cunard Line Crew. A CDC Vessel Sanitation Program environmental health officer and epidemiologist boarded the ship when it arrived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on December 27 to conduct an environmental health assessment.