Norovirus outbreak on Norwegian Cruise Line ship Pride of Hawaii

An outbreak of Norovirus, which is also known as Norwalk-Like Virus (NLV), took place on the Norwegian Cruise Line ship Pride of Hawaii, which was making a seven day voyage around Hawaii islands and which had to finish the tour yesterday in Honolulu port.

All the passengers on board the ship Pride of Hawaii were enjoying their cruise and the beautiful sights of Hawaii Islands, when all of a sudden nearly 10 per cent of them (about 225 people out of 2,500) fell extremely ill with symptoms of terrible stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting. They felt weak and inert as well.

After the ship docked back in port in Honolulu, immediate laboratory tests were carried out in the Hawaii Department of Health, the spokesman of which, Janice Okubo, announced to the Associated Press that there are no doubts as to the origination of the disease.

Okubo reported that in cases like this which involve more than 2 percent of passengers becoming ill, a ship is required to report to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). "We don't have any jurisdiction over cruise ships," she said.

Norovirus or Norwalk-Like Virus (NLV), which sometimes is called Ā«stomach fluĀ» or gastroenteritis, can be classified as a group of viruses among which there can be singled out at least five genogroups: GI, GII, GIII, GIV and GV, and each group has at least 30 subgroups.

It is called Norwalk-Like Virus (NLV) after an outbreak at an elementary school in Norwalk, Ohio, in 1968 and is considered to be a highly contagious germ, by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

According to Star-Bulletin reporter Laurie Au, the virus is highly contagious: about 10 viral particles can be enough to infect a person. Norovirus is not only a respiratory disease. It can be transmitted via touching the infected object and then putting the hand near the nose or mouth. The germs may stay within the human organism from three days to two weeks. The disease itself lasts for about 24 or 48 hours. Then it finishes without any serious complications, excluding those cases, when people become dehydrated after the long lasting diarrhea and vomiting and need further medical aid to restore their liquid level.

As to Marisa Yamane's report on the whole matter, Norwegian Cruise Line ship Pride of Hawaii is considered to be the best of its kind and such an outbreak of this disease can't be considered as something habitual. The crew of the ship works in accordance with all the sanitation standards, but unfortunately it is impossible to exclude the possibility of infectious diseases, especially when the ship docks somewhere, takes on board new passengers who can be already infected.

Steve Williams, director of medical operations for Carnival Cruises, said in an interview with World Cruise Network recently that: "Every month we have to deny boarding to one or two people because of illness, but we give them a 100 per cent refund on their cruise."

Robbie Dingeman from honoluluadvertiser.com reported that all the passengers who weren't quarantined, were asked to stay in their cabins for 24 hours, during which time they were served at no charge whatever food they liked wrapped in buffet lines with plastic wrap. If the passengers still wished to leave their cabins, they had to follow elementary sanitation demands, such as hand-washing and avoiding direct contact with any of their mates.

The company undertook all the forfeits in regard to the passengers who felt ill and their cabinmates who had been asked to remain in their cabins for 24 hours. They were given free medical treatment and a $200 on-ship credit.

Among the passengers aboard that voyage there were Jeff and Heather Bowman and latter got sick two days into their trip.

"It takes a lot of out of you. I was tired for the rest of the trip but it's Hawaii, I'm from Ohio so this is great still," said Heather Bowman.

Norovirus is a kind of infectious disease, outbreaks of which can be viewed in many public places such as nursing homes, schools, cruise ships and hospitals. Norwegian Cruise Line ship Pride of Hawaii is undertaking all the necessary sanitation measures to exclude further spreading of the disease. But to decide the real cause of infection is up to the US Food and Drug Administration which is still investigating the outbreak.

Comments

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
I just got off the NCL Spirit today where as of last night there were 80 cabins quarantined because of the noro virus. The third day into the cruise there were 16 cases, my sister being one of them. I found it absoultley ridiculous that they expected the three other people in the cabin, total of 4, to stay in there as well and share one bathroom. Only on of us were sick out of four. I find it repulsive that they were expecting us to share one bathroom if all of us came down with the virus. The last day it was so bad that they had to pass out rolls and butter at dinner instead of getting them out of the basket yourself with the other people at your table. You could not even go into the buffet and make your own drink. This ship was very dirty, not including the noro. Everything was awful, and after seeing that another ncl ship also had an outbreak so close together it is clear that the company as a whole is not doing something right.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
My BF is a current employee on a US flagged NCL ship. 150 People had the virus. It was public news. He was one of them. He was quarantined for 3 days without anyway to communicate with the outside world and was threatened to be fired if he left his cabin. This is a commomn virus spread through feces and vomit. Basically proper handwashing and disinfecting surfaces that are touched often. Most employees on US flagged NCL ships work 16+ hour shifts, not by choice. They aren't getting enough sleep and are immunocompromised because of it. They don't have time to do their laundry properly and are forced to wash undergarments in the bathroom sink. That is partly where the feces is coming from. If you trace the start of the breakout it starts with the F/B department. ALL SURFACES ARE CONTAMINATED AND CDC PROTOCOL IS TO DISPOSE OF ALL FOOD. The employees aren't being quarentined for the proper length of time. So far my BF has worked 52 days in a row without a day off. NCL has the worst reputation in the industry for how they treat their employees. This is public knowledge. 75-80% turnover after 4 months. There is a cruise ship headhunter agency that places people to work on ships and they REFUSE to jeopardize their reputation by placing people on NCL ships. So far, I've counted 14 labor law and health department violations involving NCL US flagged ships. I'm building a case against them and my goal is to have all three ships docked and investigated by the Feds. The company will lose millions and possibly go bankrupt due to fines. I am fluent in business and labor laws and nothing would make me happier than to shut them down so that NOBODY, crew or passenger has to go through what NCL practices. I'm sorry for your experience but if people get the word out this will stop. You know he isn't even allowed to carry his cell phone with it turned off or on vibrate so he can get a signal and I'm here in the states fighting cancer. Nice huh. All the info I've given you can be found on the internet. I found out about the viral outbreak from a news ticker than runs across the top of my screen. When he told me he got sick I told him there were 150 people and he said not my ship and I said It's on the news!!! Management kept it from their own employees!!!!!! Also, cruise ships are the 2nd germiest places according to CDC and HEALTH DEPARTMENT FINDINGS. Restaurants are #1. Combine the 2 and you have the plague. Don't take anymore cruises. I used to be an infectious disease nurse. All of this is true and can be confirmed by simply looking up norovirus on NCL ships. There are PAGES of results!

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