CDC Investigates GI Illness on Cruise Ship

( – The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is looking into an outbreak aboard a cruise ship that triggered gastrointestinal distress, to put it mildly. The Queen Victoria is a luxury liner run by Cunard Cruise Lines that typically holds 1,800 passengers and a crew complement of 970; so far 129 passengers and 25 members of the crew have reported symptoms.

The current cause is still unidentified, typically GI illnesses are viral or bacterial in nature. This particular infection seems to trigger vomiting and diarrhea. The sick have been isolated as the cruise is ongoing; it sailed from San Francisco on February 7.

Cunard reported that the crew is engaged in rapid disinfection. The number of ill is the total reported, not the current number of actively sick individuals, according to the CDC.

The ship has been at sea for quite some time, originally departing from Germany on January 9 and was in Florida on January 22. It’s expected to arrive in Honolulu, Hawaii, on February 12 before continuing on to Australia.

Cunard has been operating cruises for almost 2 centuries, with a total history spanning 184 years. It’s owned and operated notable ships like the Lusitania and the Queen Mary. The company was purchased by the Carnival Corporation in 1998. Their ships feature amenities like 3D cinemas, black tie dinners and parties, and famous guest speakers.

The CDC highlighted that cruise ships are perfect vessels for spreading contagious illnesses. Between the gathering of travelers from all over the world, to keeping thousands of people in tight quarters and close spaces, the conditions are perfect for individual contagions.

Cunard isn’t the only company dealing with outbreaks aboard their vessels. Last month Celebrity cruise passengers suffered an outbreak of norovirus, a typical cruise bug. The virus causes GI symptoms.

CDC reported that last year over 14 ships had outbreaks ranging from norovirus, to salmonella, and E. coli.

Folks who suspect they may have contracted an illness on a cruise ship should report their symptoms to the ship’s medical staff, wash their hands frequently, and isolate as much as possible until their symptoms resolve.

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