The Centers for Disease Control CDC reports the Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) cruise ship Spirit experienced a Norovirus outbreak during the December 18-25, 2011 voyage. During that time, 94 passengers and 14 crew members reported to have symptoms Norovirus symptoms including vomiting and diarrhea. On Christmas day CDC inspectors boarded the cruise ship in New Orleans to conduct a health assessment and evaluation of the outbreak. Stool specimens sent to the CDC lab in Atlanta confirms the outbreak was caused by Norovirus.
The majority people who come down with Norovirus recover in a few days. There are instances, however, where Norovirus can cause significant health risks and can even lead to death. Those most susceptible to life threatening complications from Norovirus are young children, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems. Those infected can still pass Norovirus for several days after symptoms of the illness subside. This is why cruise ships are often a hot bed for Norovirus outbreaks. Sick crew members return to duty after the symptoms subside and handle food, dishes, and utensils all the while spreading the virus. Norovirus and other gastrointestinal illnesses are so prevalent in the cruise industry the CDC set up the Vessel Sanitation Program. This program monitors cruise ships which return to port with outbreaks. Given the closed nature of cruise ships, cruise passengers should wash their hands before every meal and after visiting common areas such as elevators, casinos and lounges.
The cruise ship injury lawyers of Brais & Brais have significant experience litigating cases involving passengers who were hospitalized or died from contracting Norovirus on cruise ships. If you were hospitalized from contracting Norovirus on a cruise and wish to learn more about your legal rights, feel free to contact our Florida Board Certified Admiralty and Maritime attorneys.