Almost 300 get Norovirus on Cruise Ship

Posted on January 30, 2014 by

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Beleaguered passengers finally fled a Royal Caribbean cruise ship Wednesday after a 10-day vacation cut short by a nasty gut bug that sickened nearly 700 people.

One woman aboard the Explorer of the Seas yelled, “We made it!” as the ship docked in Bayonne, N.J., two days ahead of schedule. Other passengers stood on deck wrapped in blankets to watch the ship pull in.

Dave and Danielle Panebianco, two firefighters from Farmingville, N.Y., told NBC News they were both sick on what was supposed to be a romantic honeymoon voyage. 

“This is my first and last cruise,” said Dave Panebianco, 45. “You can’t pay me and I’m not going again.”

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Update: According to CNN,  the number of sick passengers aboard Explorer of the Seas has doubled to 600. The cruise has been cut short by 2 days.

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The following is the CDC Investigation update on the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line ship Explorer of the Seas

Voyage Dates:January 21-31, 2014

Number of passengers who have reported being ill during the voyage out of total number of passengers onboard:281 of 3050 (9.21%)

Number of crew who have reported being ill during the voyage out of total number of crew onboard: 22 of 1165 (1.15%)

Predominant symptoms: vomiting, diarrhea
Causative agent: Unknown

In response to the outbreak, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and the crew aboard the ship took the following actions:

Increasing cleaning and disinfection procedures according to their outbreak prevention and response plan,
Making announcements to both notify onboard passengers of the outbreak and encourage case reporting,
Collecting stool specimens from ill passengers and crew for submission to the CDC lab,
Making multiple daily reports of gastrointestinal illness cases to the VSP,
Preparing additional crew members to join the ship mid-voyage to assist with case management and intensified sanitation procedures.

Consulting with CDC on plans for:
Passenger notification procedures and the planned delayed embarkation schedule in Bayonne, NJ on January 31, 2014,
Disembarkation plans for active cases, terminal and transport infection control procedures.

A CDC Vessel Sanitation Program environmental health officer and an epidemiologist will board the ship in St. Thomas, USVI on January 26, 2014 to conduct an epidemiologic investigation, environmental health assessment, and evaluate the outbreak and response activities. Specimens are being collected and will be sent to the CDC lab for testing.

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Posted in: Family safety