On June 19, 2011, Brais & Brais issued a press release on our representation of the family of John Gavigan who, on February 5, 2011, contracted Norovirus aboard the Celebrity cruise ship Solstice and died in his cabin. In January and February of this year the Solstice came back to port with a Norovirus outbreak on multiple occasions. Instead of taking the ship out of service for a complete sanitation, the cruise line decided to keep the ship sailing. Gavigan case alleged Celebrity failed to adequately clean the vessel and warn of the outbreak as well as failed to warn of the significant health risks to elderly people associated with contracting Norovirus at sea. This case resolved in a confidential settlement.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently issued a report that the Solstice experienced another outbreak during its sailings from November 28th – December 11th. In response to the outbreak, three CDC Vessel Sanitation Program environmental health officers and an epidemiologist boarded the cruise ship on arrival in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on December 11, 2011 to conduct a targeted environmental health assessment and evaluate the outbreak and response activities.
Celebrity Cruises has taken the following actions:
- Increased cleaning and disinfection procedures according to their outbreak prevention and response plan,
- Made announcements to both notify onboard passengers of the outbreak and encourage case reporting,
- Collected stool specimens from ill passengers and crew for submission to the CDC lab,
- Made twice daily reports of gastrointestinal illness cases to the VSP,
- Arranged for additional staff and time for thorough super-sanitation cleaning and disinfection during an extended period between disembarkation and embarkation, and