Noroviruses on cruise ship Queen Mary 2?

More than 400 cruise travelers believed to have norovirus infections

Norovirus infections are apparently currently a massive problem on the cruise ships "Queen Mary 2" and "Emerald Princess", which were in the Caribbean over Christmas. A large number of cruise ship travelers developed gastrointestinal infections, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to US media, the symptoms suggest infection with the norovirus.

More than 400 people on the two cruise ships are suffering from a gastrointestinal infection. Although the US Agency for Disease Control did not specify the causes of the illnesses on the "Queen Mary 2" and the "Emerald Princess", it quickly became suspected that it could be infections with the norovirus. Extensive hygiene measures were taken to prevent the pathogens from spreading further on the cruise ships. In addition, additional medical personnel and a medical officer were sent to the "Queen Mary 2", reports the US health agency. Stool samples were taken from the sick passengers and crew and passed on to the CDC for analysis.

Cruise companies report gastrointestinal diseases to the health authority According to the CDC, 194 of the 2,613 passengers on the cruise ship "Queen Mary 2" suffered from symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. The same applies to eleven of the 1,255 crew members. According to this, 7.4 percent of the travelers and 0.9 percent of the crew members were affected by a corresponding illness. The cruise line "Cunard Line" had to report the events to the US health agency, as more than two percent of the people on board showed the symptoms. Almost six percent of the passengers (189 out of 3,235 showed symptoms) and 2.6 percent of the crew members (31 out of 1,189 suffered from gastrointestinal complaints) fell ill on the "Emerald Princess" of the cruise line "Princess Cruises". A notification to the health authority was therefore also required here.

Noroviruses presumably trigger gastrointestinal diseases According to the CDC, the cause of gastrointestinal diseases on the cruise ships is still unknown, but the symptoms suggest infection with noroviruses. The high number of people affected also suggests that noroviruses will spread. These can be transmitted via contaminated food, for example, but also via contact surfaces such as door handles or railings. The pathogens are passed on via the fecal-oral route, i.e. excreted with vomit or stool, and then taken up by fellow human beings if there is insufficient hygiene or close contact. If many people live together in a confined space, such as in hospitals, nursing homes or even on cruise ships, the risk of transmission is particularly high. According to the CDC Noroviruses, this year was responsible for 13 other documented outbreaks of gastrointestinal diseases on cruise ships. Those affected suffer from symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, which may be accompanied by headaches and body aches. Although the norovirus infections are usually over after a relatively short period of time (about three days), the extreme loss of fluids can reach life-threatening proportions in immunocompromised people. (fp)

Image: Petra Schmidt /

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Video: Norovirus Cruise Ship Outbreak: Virus Leaves Hundreds Ill on Queen Mary 2, Emerald Princes

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