Feedback Friday: Reporting Norovirus

January 24, 2014 | By | No Comments

You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. Every other Friday we will bring you a piece of reader feedback and our response. Have a question about cruising? Notice an error on our site? Want to just drop a comment for our consideration? Submit your own feedback by e-mailing, and maybe we’ll select your submission for our next Feedback Blog.
This Week’s Feedback:
“I didn’t see this article on cruise news. Can you confirm if this happened or if CNN was wrong? Why wouldn’t it be on your site?”

Our Response:
The incident this reader is referencing is a CNN report, from this past weekend, of a Norovirus outbreak onboard Royal Caribbean‘s Majesty of the Seas. The question is: If another media outlet reported it, why didn’t Cruise Critic?
With some exceptions, we only cover outbreaks that affect more than 8 to 10 percent of passengers and crew combined. Gastrointestinal illness (including Norovirus) is not uncommon on cruise ships, especially in the winter. It is the second most common illness after the common cold, in fact. The outbreak onboard Majesty affected 66 of 2,581 passengers, and two out of 844 crewmembers, bringing the percent of affected people to just about 2 percent.
The CDC website is another great resource to track gastrointestinal illness outbreaks onboard cruise ships. They report on outbreaks affecting 3 percent or more of passengers or crew. According to the CDC, Norovirus is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis in the United States, the most common cause of foodborne-disease outbreaks, and it causes 19 to 21 million illnesses annually.
The best way to prevent Norovirus at home, or on a cruise ship, is to practice regular hand washing.
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