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Published On: Sat, Sep 21st, 2013

Suspected norovirus strikes Fred Olsen’s ‘Black Watch’ and Cunard’s ‘Queen Mary 2′ cruises

A gastrointestinal disease, suspected to be norovirus, has sickened dozens in two cruise lines as reported in different British news sources.

The BBC reports that at least 130 passengers of  Fred Olsen’s Black Watch have contracted an unspecified gastrointestinal illness during a 12-night Scandinavia and St Petersburg cruise.

Queen Mary 2 Public domain image/Malis via wikimedia commons

Queen Mary 2
Public domain image/Malis via wikimedia commons

A spokesman for the cruise line said, “Fred Olsen Cruise Lines can confirm, during Black Watch’s 12-night Scandinavia and St Petersburg cruise, there was an outbreak of a gastroenteritis-type illness, and every effort was made to contain the illness, in accordance with Fred Olsen Cruise Lines onboard medical protocols.

“Black Watch returned to Rosyth on Friday, where she is currently undergoing an intensive cleaning and sanitisation programme, which includes a complete ship fumigation by professional external contractors.

“Representatives from the local health authorities and Rosyth Port Health have been on board the ship this morning, and have confirmed that they are satisfied with the containment and preventative measures being undertaken by the ship.”

In addition, the luxury cruise ship, the Queen Mary 2 (QM2), is currently undergoing cleaning and sanitizing as at least eight passengers have come down with gastrointestinal symptoms, according to a Daily Echo report.

A Cunard spokesman said, “There has been an incidence of a mild gastrointestinal illness among the passengers on Queen Mary 2.

“This is suspected to be Norovirus, which is highly contagious and typically transmitted from person to person.

“Enhanced sanitation protocols have been implemented to help minimise transmission to other passengers.

“These comprehensive disinfection protocols have been developed by Cunard Line in conjunction with U.K. and U.S. public health authorities.QM2 is currently on a 13-night Canada and New England voyage which sailed from New York on Tuesday, September 10.”

Cunard’s QM2 has 2,462 passengers on board.

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 typically spread 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.

For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page

 

 

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 regularly writes about infectious disease news for Examiner.com and administers the Outbreak News section of The Global Dispatch.

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  1. […] Frequently associated with outbreaks on cruise ships, Noroviruses are a group of viruses that cause the “stomach flu,” or gastroenteritis in people. […]

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