Health officials in Hong Kong are currently investigating a norovirus outbreak onboard Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth luxury liner. 150 passengers and crew have been taken ill in the outbreak.
A Public Health Incident Assessment Group (PHIAG) was established to conduct the investigation this morning at Ocean Terminal Hong Kong in Tsim Sha Tsui. The queen’s namesake cruise liner is currently on a world tour, carrying more than 2,000 travelers and 1,000 crew members.
According to health officials, a total of 150 persons, 80 males and 70 females aged 17 to 95, were affected. Among them, 134 are passengers and 16 are crew members. They have developed vomiting, diarrhea and fever onboard since March 7.
To date, health assessments by the Public Health Team showed that most had recovered, while 27 self-isolated in their own rooms and five symptomatic patients were in stable condition. No hospitalization was required and health surveillance on their body temperature has not detected any abnormalities so far.
Stool specimens of nine affected persons tested positive for norovirus upon preliminary testing by testing services onboard.
Chief Port Health Officer of the Department of Health, Dr Raymond Ho, said, “Norovirus infection typically causes acute gastroenteritis. People can get norovirus from an infected person, from contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces. It can cause outbreaks in settings where people are staying close together, such as schools, elderly homes, hotels and cruise ships. It tends to be more common in winter. Robust disease control measures and disinfection are essential in controlling further spread of the disease.”
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