In a follow-up to previous reports (HERE and HERE) on the gastrointestinal outbreak onboard a Disney Wonder voyage last month, federal health officials reported on Thursday that the etiology has been identified as norovirus.
131 of 2680 passengers and 14 of 991 crewmembers suffered symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea during the four day cruise ending May 1 in Miami.
The Disney Wonder outbreak is the 1oth cruise ship outbreak investigated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this year to date. Norovirus was confirmed to be implicated in nine of the outbreaks.
Norovirus is a highly contagious viral illness that often goes by other names, such as viral gastroenteritis, stomach flu, and food poisoning.
The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and some stomach cramping. Sometimes people additionally have a low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and a general sense of tiredness. The illness often begins suddenly, and the infected person may feel very sick. In most people, the illness is self-limiting with symptoms lasting for about 1 or 2 days. In general, children experience more vomiting than adults do.
Norovirus is typically spread person to person particularly in crowded, closed places. Norovirus is typically spread through contaminated food and water, touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus and then putting your hand or fingers in your mouth and close contact with someone who is vomiting or has diarrhea.