Gastrointestinal illness outbreaks on cruise ships hit five-year low

Published on : Thursday, January 10, 2019

The number of gastrointestinal illnesses on board cruise ships has fallen to its lowest level since 2014.  In 2018, 10 onboard outbreaks, including Norovirus, E. coli and Campylobacter, were recorded by Centers for Disease Control (CDC) last year.  In 2014 the number was the lowest recording just nine outbreaks. In 2006, 34 outbreaks were recorded and the number has been decreasing steadily since.




Some of the cruises that were hit by gastrointestinal illnesses in 2018 included Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Symphony, Holland America Line’s Volendam and Silversea’s Silver Shadow. On Silver Shadow, 8.56 per cent passengers were reported being ill during the cruise from May 10 to 24 in 2018. As per CDC this was the highest.





In 2017 and 2016, the numbers gastrointestinal illnesses outbreaks were 17 and 16 approximately.




Most outbreaks of gastrointestinal illness on cruise ships are caused by norovirus, which is a common ‘stomach bug’ that is widespread across America in the winter. The CDC estimates there are 19 to 21 million cases of norovirus in America each year.




Norovirus causes diarrhea and vomiting that typically lasts for one to three days but it is not related to influenza.




Cruise lines had made  efforts to get passengers to wash their hands frequently while on board ships and use sanitizing gel. Lines also have adopted rigorous cleaning regimes.




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