Sick Passengers and High Seas

Apparently it isn’t enough that the ship came into Southampton with Norovirus on board, apparently everyone with it hasn’t left. Or else there are hygiene problems with the ship and crew. Take your pick. I simply don’t buy the “passengers bring it on and infect everyone.” Yes, it might have been true several cruises ago, but once it gets established on board the only way it can jump cruises is through the environment (the ship) or people (and bringing it on board new is nowhere as likely as the environment or staff/repeat cruisers being the problem).

Reality says that not everyone who is sick goes to the medical facility (not with the charges applied). Plus, who wants to be shut into their cabin for a few days (appropriate control measure)? Only those who are really conscientious report themselves (unlikely to get ill in the first place) or those who are too sick to care for themselves/spouse).

Depending on the study, the estimates are anywhere from 3-75% of people who are ill with travelers diarrhea report in to medical facilities. The differences are directly related to the causative agent. The severe bacterial food poisonings have a high likelihood of their victims seeking care due to fever and dehydration. Viruses like the Norwalk family cause discomfort but usually not serious disease in the young and healthy; only being a significant risk to the very young, the old and those with major chronic medical problems. My gut level (sorry about that) guess is that if 300+ people reported into the medical facilities on the last cruise leg there were actually more like a minimum of 1200 who were ill. That is a lot of surface area to decontaminate to say nothing of the number of people who are not self reporting.

I did mention that Noro is relatively resistant to alcohol based sanitizers and can survive a very long time on slick surfaces?

So add the two following: major viral precautions with the traveling conditions (high winds (60+knots), high seas (8 meter waves)) and not all of the passengers are out and about. If the virus is still spreading – it is either staff or mildly symptomatic passengers who don’t suffer from sea sickness.

Meanwhile, there are no munchies at any of the events, crew scrubbing things all over the place, and all self-serve has been discontinued. Additionally, removal of food from “all the venues” has also been discontinued.

Now, none of these measures are going to do squat till either they are enforced across the boards (which they are not) or everyone gets sick and gets over it. You can’t take food out of the Windjammer, but you can out of Sorentos and the Cafe on Deck 5. The servers are all wearing gloves, but the beverage personnel filling drink, coffee, tea and cold beverages are not.

Go figure. this goes on for a few more days and I am going to go down to the health facility and offer my help. 30 years of supervising sanitary inspections ought to count for something!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Travel, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Sick Passengers and High Seas

  1. carmen says:

    Well, that doesn’t sound real fun. It is an interesting public health problem, and you have the qualifications. Sounds like you are going to end up employed…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.