Going on a cruise? Be prepared to declare that runny nose. Cruise travelers, who are already quizzed before boarding to detect Norovirus symptoms, are now also going to be screened for Influenza A (H1N1) -- commonly referred to as swine flu.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) announced today that all 24 of its member lines -- from luxury lines like Crystal to more mainstream lines like Carnival and Royal Caribbean, who've had to change itineraries due to the outbreak -- have adopted new CLIA health screening protocols. As part of these procedures, passengers will be required to complete and sign a written questionnaire that includes queries about swine flu (as well as Norovirus) prior to boarding any CLIA cruise ship, anywhere in the world.
The new question in, ahem, question, is: "Do you, or any person listed above, have any ONE of the following symptoms: Fever or Feverishness, Cough, Runny Nose or Sore Throat OR has anyone been in contact with a confirmed Influenza A (H1N1) case?"
It's important to note that if you answer "yes," that doesn't necessarily mean your vacation is ruined. A secondary screening will be conducted by medical personnel, who will make decisions on a case by case basis regarding the boarding of these passengers. Only those who exhibit influenza-like illness or meet the suspect case conditions for Influenza A (H1N1), as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will be denied boarding. All others will be permitted to sail.
Similar screening protocols have been added to CLIA questionnaires in the past; in 2003, for example, passengers were given a standardized pre-boarding questionnaire to identify SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).
--by Melissa Baldwin Paloti, Managing Editor
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Cruise Lines Standardize Pre-Boarding Swine Flu Screening
May 1, 2009