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 «stomach flu» 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.