CDC Probes Mysterious Illness Aboard Cruise Ship

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The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating a cruise ship outbreak, but the actual cause remains a mystery several days later. 

Queen Elizabeth cruise ship gracefully navigates the vast expanse of the ocean.
(Cunard)

More than 150 cases of sickness have occurred on the Cunard ship Queen Victoria since it docked in Florida in late January. The number of cases are totaled from the entire voyage, and not all are active.

Cause still unknown

The cruise ship has since transited the Panama Canal and just left San Francisco for Hawaii. Passengers and crew reported symptoms of gastrointestinal illness, including diarrhea and vomiting. Cunard has ramped up cleaning and disinfecting surfaces to combat this, and isolated passengers and crew with symptoms.

The ship is carrying 1,800 passengers and 970 crew members. While norovirus hasn’t been ruled out, the CDC has yet to disclose the cause. The agency’s Vessel Sanitation Program is “remotely monitoring the situation, including reviewing the ship’s outbreak response and sanitation procedures.”

Outbreak began in late January

Norovirus outbreak in the dining room of a restaurant.

The outbreak seems to have taken hold after departing Florida last month. “We’d left Port Canaveral, and then it was announced that people were getting ill, and they had to take the extra precautions,” ship passenger Eirlys Thomas told media outlet told KTVU.

Another guest, Malcolm Davis, praised the response from the ship’s crew. “Their staff are absolutely amazing. The buffet area was manned by the staff so that the passengers didn’t actually handle anything to do with the food.”

Queen Victoria passed its latest CDC check with a high sanitation score of 95 out of 100. The ship is due to dock in Honolulu on February 12.

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