More than 16 percent of passengers onboard the Fred Olsen Cruises ship, Balmoral, have been stricken with gastrointestinal illness caused by norovirus.
159 of the approximately 1400 passengers and crew have suffered from the symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea. Specimens were collected and tested onboard using a norovirus rapid test; results were positive for norovirus.
The cruise, which left Great Britain two weeks ago, is currently docked in Norfolk, Virginia. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will have two environmental health officers and an epidemiologist board the ship upon arrival in Baltimore, MD on April 30-May 1, 2016 to conduct an environmental health assessment and evaluate the outbreak and response activities.
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 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.