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Published On: Sun, Feb 23rd, 2014

Probable norovirus sickens dozens onboard Holland America’s cruise ship, ‘ms Veendam’

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) is currently investigating a gastrointestinal outbreak of possible norovirus onboard the Holland America Cruise Line vessel, ms Veendam, which  docked in Fort Lauderdale Saturday.

Nearly 9 percent (114) of the 1,273 passengers and 10 of the 575 crew were sickened with the norovirus-like symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea. (The website CruiseFever.net reports that the norovirus was confirmed; however, the CDC-VSP has not updated it’s website as of this writing).

Image/ Djheini at the wikipedia project

Image/ Djheini at the wikipedia project

Related story: Holland America Cruise Line Employee, Ketut Pujayasa, Rapes Passenger, Try To Throw Overboard

Holland America Line and the crew aboard the ship took the following actions in response to the outbreak:

Increased staff to carry out intensified cleaning and disinfection procedures according to their outbreak prevention and response plan, collected stool specimens from ill passengers and crew for testing, made announcements to both notify onboard passengers of the outbreak and encourage case reporting, made twice daily reports of gastrointestinal illness cases to the Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) prior to a CDC Vessel Sanitation Program environmental health officer and an epidemiologist  boarding the ship on arrival in Ft. Lauderdale Saturday.

Last May 2013, the same vessel was stricken with an outbreak of the bacterial pathogen,  Enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC).

Noroviruses are a group of viruses that cause the “stomach flu,” or gastroenteritis in people.

The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and some stomach cramping. Sometimes people additionally have a low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and a general sense of tiredness. The illness often begins suddenly, and the infected person may feel very sick. In most people, the illness is self-limiting with symptoms lasting for about 1 or 2 days. In general, children experience more vomiting than adults do.

Norovirus is spread person to person particularly in crowded, closed places. Norovirus is typicallyspread through contaminated food and water, touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus and then putting your hand or fingers in your mouth and close contact with someone who isvomiting or has diarrhea.

The highly contagious norovirus is the second leading infectious cause of gastroenteritis-associated deaths accounting for 800 annually. Norovirus causes more than 20 million illnesses annually, and it is the leading cause of gastroenteritis outbreaks in the United States.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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