According to Reuters on Friday, a Royal Caribbean Cruise ship has been the scene of a norovirus outbreak. It is reported that 105 unfortunate travelers along with three employees fell sick on the Vision of the Seas ship which finally docked in Florida after an eleven day tour; a trip from hell for many.
The viruses are transmitted focally-contaminated food or water; by person-to-person contact and subsequent contamination of surfaces.
Noroviruses are the most common cause of viral gastroenteritis in humans and affect people of all ages.
Symptoms include nausea, forceful vomiting, watery diarrhea, and abdominal pain and in some cases, loss of taste. Low-grade fever, general lethargy, weakness, muscle aches, headache, and coughs are all common characteristics as well.
Severe cases usually only occur with the very young, elderly and people with weakened immune systems.
While some people may not think this is a serious situation, the CDC reports that each year norovirus cause some 21 million illnesses. 70,000 people require hospitalization and the illness claims the lives of about 800 people every year. That’s nothing to sneeze at …
Royal Caribbean states that those inflicted with the sickness responded well to the over-the-counter medicine they were given.
The company reports that the ship and the cruise terminal have been thoroughly sanitized and the cruise liner will depart later on Friday as scheduled on a new sailing.
The cruise industry has certainly had its fair share of bumps in the road and this latest incident certainly won't help convince travelers to sail the seven seas anytime soon.
Unfortunately, this is notably a time of year when a considerable amount of people buy their tickets, so it wouldn't be a big surprise if future booking numbers take a dive.
Other cruise companies have been far from immune to travel issues. Last month, a disabled Carnival Cruise vessel left thousands of passengers longing for land. On the third day of a four day cruise, most of the ship experienced loss of power and plumbing thanks to an engine room fire. They were stranded on the ship for almost five days.
Sixteen cruise ship outbreaks were reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in 2012. In December, over 200 people aboard the Queen Mary 2 experienced vomiting and diarrhea.
There have been other mishaps that have certainly caught the attention of the media as well. Just over a year ago, tragically thirty-two passengers lost their lives when Carnival Corp’s Costa Concordia ran aground off the Italian coast.
Noroviruses are certainly a concern for the cruise ship industry as well as travelers. Let's just hope that the superbugs out there don't ever find their way to the vessels because then it will certainly be game over.