Salmonella Poisoning Onboard Mercury

August 21, 2002
A tempest in an eggshell? Passengers on two different sailings on Celebrity's Mercury, cruising Alaska itineraries, came down with gastrointestinal illnesses that presented different symptoms from the Norwalk-like virus that has bedeviled Princess and Holland America in that region this summer. According to Health Canada, a handful of passengers on voyages that departed July 28 and August 4 were diagnosed with Salmonella Typhimurium, otherwise known as, well, salmonella poisoning. This is often caused by eggs, chicken and poultry. Symptoms generally include diarrhea, cramps, and a fever.
Health Canada boarded the ship in Vancouver on August 11 and conducted a thorough investigation, taking a look at the ship's food handling practices, potable and recreational water facilities and an epidemiological review of the information collected from the ill passengers. According to a source there, inspectors found that "conditions pertaining to food and water safety were found to be satisfactory at the time of inspection."
On its part, Mercury staff took a proactive approach to solving the mystery. "We enhanced our cleaning procedures and disposed of all chicken and eggs - replacing those items," reports spokesman Michael Sheehan. "Additionally, we have stayed in contact with Health Canada - on a daily basis. We have been told of no other similar cases - or the source."