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People sickened aboard Holland America cruise ship

Cruise ships vacations are supposed to be relaxing and fun. Cruise ships in Florida these days are equipped with many luxury features such as swimming pools, buffets and spas. However, the fun can be cut short if a person becomes ill due to a cruise ship's unsanitary practices.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is performing an investigation of a gastrointestinal illness that has broken out on a Holland America cruise ship. Nearly four percent of passengers and 15 percent of crew staff have contracted an illness highlighted by diarrhea and vomiting. One possible cause of these symptoms is norovirus, which is highly contagious if conditions are not kept sanitary. However, investigators may not be able to determine the exact food or objects that were contaminated with the illness.

One way to determine if a cruise ship has a record of being sanitary is through investigating the CDC's Vessel Sanitation Program database. If a cruise line scores less than 85 on this database, it could indicate that the ship has a record of being unsanitary. In addition, pay attention while on the cruise. Cruise staff should regularly wash their hands, properly dispose of garbage, keep kitchen and dining areas clean, and regularly clean rooms and bathrooms.

If the staff on a cruise ship does not adhere to sanitary practices, it could cause a virus like norovirus or an illness caused by food poisoning to spread faster. This sickness could not just lead to a ruined vacation, but could cause complications such as severe dehydration or malnutrition. These complications could even lead to death for children or those with a compromised immune system. Therefore, if it can be determined that a person contracted norovirus or food poisoning that was spread by unsanitary conditions or practices on a cruise ship, they may want to determine if they have a legal cause of action to pursue damages.

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