CDC investigates possible norovirus outbreak on cruise ship

24 February 2014 (Last Updated February 24th, 2014 18:30)

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) vessel sanitation programme is investigating the possibility of norovirus onboard the Holland America cruise ship, ms Veendam, which arrived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, after 114 passengers and ten crew members reported suffering from vomiting and diarrhoea.

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) vessel sanitation programme is investigating the possibility of norovirus onboard the Holland America cruise ship, ms Veendam, which arrived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, after 114 passengers and ten crew members reported suffering from vomiting and diarrhoea.

The liner was on a week-long Caribbean cruise carrying a total of 1,273 passengers and 575 crew members.

An environmental health office and epidemiologist from the CDC will assess the ship and determine the outbreak.

"If the cause of the outbreak is confirmed as the norovirus, it will be the fourth instance on a cruise ship this year."

The CDC officials will also test the stool samples of the sick passengers and crew.

If the cause of the outbreak is confirmed as the norovirus, it will be the fourth instance on a cruise ship this year.

The previous incidents include norovirus attacks on Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s Explorer of the Seas, which affected more than 600 passengers and 55 crew members, and onboard Princess Cruises’s Caribbean Princess ship, where 178 passengers and 11 crew members were affected.

In September 2013, the CDC’s inspection on ms Veendam found multiple sanitation violations, including dripping of brown liquid on to clean dishes and a fly in the buffet.

Holland America Line public relations vice-president Sally Andrews said that, while unacceptable for Holland America Line, the unsatisfactory score is highly unusual and an aberration.

"Since 1996, Veendam has received passing scores on 32 inspections," Andrews said.