Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s Legend of the Seas is the third cruise line to report an outbreak of gastrointestinal disease in the past two weeks (Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Pearl on Apr 3 and Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Infinity on Apr 10).
According to federal health officials, 116 (114/2) passengers and crew have been sickened by a gastrointestinal illness of yet unknown etiology.
Cruise lines are required to report the total number of gastrointestinal cases, with online updates posted when they account for more than 3 percent of passengers and crew. The outbreak on Legend of the Seas is affecting 6.53% of the passengers and 0.27% of the crew.
Legend of the Seas is currently on a two week cruise that started on March 30 and continues until April 14, 2015.
In response to the outbreak, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and the crew aboard the ship are taking the following actions: Increasing cleaning and disinfection procedures according to their outbreak prevention and response plan, making announcements to notify on board passengers of the outbreak, encourage case reporting, and encourage hand hygiene and collected stool specimens from ill passengers and crew.
One CDC Vessel Sanitation Program environmental health officer and one epidemiologist will board the ship in San Diego, CA on April 14, 2015 to conduct an environmental health assessment and evaluate the outbreak and response activities. Specimens are being collected and will be tested by CDC to determine the causative agent for this outbreak.
In a follow-up to the outbreak of gastrointestinal illness reported on Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Infinity previously reported over the weekend, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) is now confirmed norovirus as the causative agent of the outbreak.
In addition, the numbers of those affected by the outbreak has been updated to 106 passengers and six crew. This is up from 95 passengers and 5 crew as initially reported.