It’s finally official. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) reported on June 1 that the cause of the outbreak on board Oceania Cruises’ Oceania Marina one month ago  that sickened 80 was indeed norovirus.


Prior to the announcement, health officials said the etiological agent was unknown.

This means all nine cruise ship outbreaks investigated by the federal agency were due to the gastrointestinal virus.

Cruise ship outbreaks are investigated by the VSP if they meet the following criteria: Are sailing on voyages from 3-21 days, are carrying 100 or more passengers, are cruise ships in which 3% or more of passengers or crew reported symptoms of diarrheal disease to the ships medical staff during the voyage, and are gastrointestinal illness outbreaks of public health significance.

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 infectedperson 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.