Published On: Wed, May 8th, 2013

Suspected norovirus outbreak on Crystal Cruises ‘Crystal Symphony’ sickens nearly 150

Luxury cruise  line, Crystal Cruises’ latest voyage on the “Crystal Symphony” was struck with an outbreak of a gastrointestinal illness of unknown etiology as it embarked in Los Angeles on Monday.

Norovirus Image/CDC

Norovirus Image/CDC

The suspected outbreak of norovirus sickened 125 passengers and 22 crew, sickening about 10 percent on board, according to a Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) investigation report.

Crystal Cruises 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)and made plans to delay embarking in Los Angeles and set infection control procedures in place.

Two CDC VSP environmental health officers boarded the ship on arrival in Los Angeles, CA on May 6, 2013 to conduct a targeted environmental health assessment and evaluate the outbreak and response activities.

This outbreak follows one just days before on the Holland America Line, Veendam, in which some 70 passengers and crew were sickened with an agent of unknown etiology.


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 is vomiting 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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  1. Suspected norovirus outbreak on Crystal Cruises... says:

    […] Suspected norovirus outbreak on Crystal Cruises 'Crystal Symphony' sickens … The Global Dispatch Norovirus is spread person to person particularly in crowded, closed places.  […]

  2. Cuba False-Flag Bio-Terror Threat Assessment | Truther.Org says:

    […] outbreaks on cruise ships (see list below), the latest of which occurred on May 8, 2013, when an Norovirus outbreak on Crystal Cruises ‘Crystal Symphony’ sickened nearly 150 in Los Angeles, […]

  3. Mimi Weisband says:

    Unfortunately, this report contains misleading information. The ship was not “struck with an outbreak” when it embarked Los Angeles. On the cruise prior to arriving in LA, we had guests and crew that were ill with GI symptoms (never conclusively identified as Norovirus). While the cummulative number was correct as stated, these cases occurred during the course of that cruise. They were treated and recovered within 24 hours. Crystal Symphony sailed on time from the port of LA following an intensive, comprehensive sanitation effort by shipboard crew, as well as support from an outside santitation firm.

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