By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

As we near the end of August, it is quite noticeable that the number of cruise ship outbreaks investigated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) is less than recent previous years.


Thus far in 2019, CDC-VSP officials investigated five outbreaks- all before early April, nothing since. The most recent outbreak being Oceania Cruises, Oceania Marina 3/18 to 4/5 voyage.

While the year is not over, it is a slower season.

This compares to 11 outbreaks investigated in all of 2018, 11 in 2017 and 13 in 2016.

Of the 40 outbreaks reported by VSP, 27 were due to norovirus, 2 were Enterotoxigenic E. coli(ETEC), one each of Clostridium perfringens, rotavirus, norovirus and Campylobacter and norovirus and ETEC.

The etiology of seven outbreaks were classified as unknown.

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VSP posts cruise ship outbreaks when they meet all of the following criteria:

  • Fall within the purview of VSP.
  • Are on voyages from 3-21 days long.
  • Are on ships carrying 100 or more passengers.
  • Are voyages where 3% or more of passengers or crew report symptoms of gastrointestinal illness to the ship’s medical staff.

VSP may also post outbreak updates for gastrointestinal illness outbreaks of public health significance that do not necessarily meet the above criteria.