Published On: Sat, Feb 1st, 2014

Norovirus confirmed as etiology of ‘Explorer of the Seas’ outbreak

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has now confirmed the etiological agent of the outbreak that caused gastrointestinal illness in nearly 700 passengers and crew onboard the Royal Caribbean vessel, “Explorer of the Seas”, according to a Vessel Sanitation Program update Jan. 31.

Norovirus Image/CDC

Norovirus Image/CDC

To nobody’s surprise, the causative agent has been confirmed as norovirus, although the federal health agency has yet to pinpoint the source of the virus, and said  it’s quite possible a source won’t be identified, according to a media advisory Friday

The outbreak  sickened hundreds making the Explorer of the Seas is one of the worst in decades.

On Thursday, Princess Cruise Lines, “Caribbean Princess” reported a confirmed outbreak of norovirus, which sickened some 192 passengers and crew (updated).

The CDC says most outbreaks of norovirus  happen when infected people spread the virus to others. But, norovirus can also spread by consuming contaminated food or water and touching things that have the virus on them.

Over half of all norovirus outbreaks reported in the United States occur in long-term care facilities.

Outbreaks of norovirus illness have also occurred in restaurants, schools, banquet halls, summer camps, cruise ships, and even at family dinners. These are all places where people often eat food handled or prepared by others.

In fact, norovirus is the leading cause of illness from contaminated food in the United States. About 50% of all outbreaks of food-related illness are caused by norovirus.

For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page and the Outbreak News This Week Radio Show page.

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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. Costa Pacifica cruise ship reports measles outbreak, dozens affected - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] is another cruise liner outbreak being reported and it’s not norovirus. According to the Italian news source, Il Messaggero (computer translated), the Costa Pacifica […]

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