Cruise Ships Make Thousands Ill With Norovirus – No Vaccine Available
Cruising is an extremely popular vacation style. Cruisers enjoy the luxury of these gargantuan floating hotels overflowing with drink and decadence. Gluttony, one of the seven deadly sins, is considered a virtue on board ship. There are snacks, happy hours and hors d’ oeuvres sandwiched between the 3 standard triple-portioned meals of the day. Cruise ships take travelers to exotic destinations, although many choose to remain on board where they can swim, dance, exercise, shop, sunbathe, do yoga, read and gamble without ever touching dry land.
Thousands of cruise guests have discovered an activity on board that was never mentioned in the cruise line’s shiny and colorful promotional brochure. Imagine their surprise when they, along with hundreds of other contented cruisers, abruptly developed diarrhea of a lifetime while on ship. Those travelers who were not yet afflicted, worried hour by hour whether the contagious brush fire would soon ignite them. While the cruise lines promised travelers a gastronomical experience of a lifetime, they didn’t realize that a gastrointestinal nightmare awaited them.
This plague against cruise ship guests was caused by a microscopic marauder called norovirus or Norwalk-like viruses. It is extremely contagious and is transmitted though contaminated food and beverages or from contaminated surfaces and people. Cruise travelers were ambushed as by the time an outbreak developed on ship, hundreds of guests were already unknowingly infected. There is no treatment or any travel vaccine against it. While the illness subsides in a few days, this is more than enough time to ruin an expensive pre-paid vacation.
Outbreaks on cruise ships occur every year. The CDC actively monitors norovirus infections both at sea and on land. International travelers should consult with their travel doctors for health information on their selected cruise line. In addition, ask the cruise line directly about their history of norovirus and what measures the company takes to reduce the risk of an outbreak and to contain one if it occurs.
Many choose to cruise because of they love the water. Flushing toilets is not what they had in mind.