People in Florida taking a vacation on a cruise ship may anticipate some seasickness. However, sometimes this sickness is not due to the rolling of the waves, but to unsanitary practices that cause viruses such as norovirus to spread between crew and passengers on the ship.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there are 685 million cases of norovirus annually world-wide. Norovirus can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Some of these outbreaks occur on cruise ships. In fact, over 90 percent of outbreaks of diarrhea on these ships are due to norovirus. Norovirus can get into the ship's food supply, especially buffets or cold foods, or it can contaminate dirty dishes. Ill passengers will then go on to touch things such as railings or door knobs, which are then touched by other people, spreading the virus throughout the ship. In fact, if surfaces are not disinfected, the virus can remain on a hard surface on a cruise ship for days or even weeks.
Therefore, the CDC instituted a Vessel Sanitation Program. The program provides cruise ship operators with a 260-page manual on the topic. In addition, the program mandates that two unannounced inspections of cruise ships take place annually. Also, cruise ship employees who are ill should not report to work, and those who handle food preparation on a cruise ship should ensure they are washing their hands appropriately.
If a cruise ship does not follow sanitation rules, leading to an outbreak of norovirus, those aboard can become very sick. This could be especially dangerous if complications occur. Sometimes a person with norovirus needs to be hospitalized. This could result in significant medical expenses, not to mention lost wages if a person is too sick to work and the emotional distress the incident caused. Therefore, those who contract norovirus on a cruise or suffer food poisoning on a cruise may want to explore their legal options for recovery.