CDC Reports Over 100 Cruise Passengers Sick

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The year’s second cruise ship outbreak has struck, affecting over 100 passengers and crew members. The incident is unfolding aboard the Queen Victoria, which is currently on a 107-night sailing from Hamburg to Sydney.

The Queen Elizabeth cruise ship, operated by Cunard Line at sea.
(Photo via Cunard)

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), norovirus symptoms started appearing among passengers last January 22 as the ship was in Fort Lauderdale.

By the numbers

Out of the 1,824 passengers, 120, or almost 7% of guests reported symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea, well above the 3% threshold that requires cruise lines to disclose health concerns publicly.

Meanwhile, 15 of the 967 crew members (1%) caught the same illness. The cause of the outbreak remains unknown. 

A spokesperson from Cunard informed The Independent, “They immediately activated their enhanced health and safety protocols to ensure the wellbeing of all guests and crew on board.” Containment measures included isolating sick passengers and disinfecting areas of the ship.

Additionally, the Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) has been enforced to monitor norovirus cases remotely.

Queen Victoria is a Vista-class cruise ship that has an ongoing 107-night voyage where passengers can elect to join specific segments.

Queen Victoria left Southampton, England, last January 11 and will sail to destinations like San Francisco, Fiji, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and South Africa before returning to the UK on April 28. 

How common are norovirus outbreaks on cruise ships?

Norovirus outbreak in the dining room of a restaurant.

Though the cases of norovirus infections on cruise ships constitute a small percentage of the world’s total, it’s still one of the fastest-spreading and most common illnesses for cruise passengers.

The year’s first norovirus outbreak was reported during the January 3 to 12 voyage onboard Celebrity Constellation. Ninety-two passengers were confirmed to have gastrointestinal illness. In 2023, there were 13 norovirus outbreaks on cruise ships. 

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