It is not unusual to hear reports about distressing gastrointestinal illnesses breaking out on cruise ships. Some of these illnesses are due to food poisoning, caused by unsanitary conditions on the ship or due to a lack of safe food handling. Floridians may have recently heard of one breakout of the gastrointestinal illness, norovirus, on a cruise ship that has affected hundreds of passengers.
An outbreak of norovirus has occurred on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, sickening almost 500 individuals. The ship is set to return to Port Canaveral. Symptoms of norovirus include vomiting and diarrhea. The virus is contagious, and it can be spread when individuals with the virus have direct contact with others, when a person touches something contaminated with the virus or if a person eats or drinks something prepared or handled by an infected individual.
The cruise, carrying 6,285 passengers, was set to last seven days; however, due to the illness, passengers didn't disembark on two planned stops. Because of this, the ship is set to return a day early. Royal Caribbean is issuing a refund to all passengers on the ship. When there is an outbreak of norovirus on a cruise ship, the ship must notify the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention if the number of sickened passengers rises above 2 percent of the total number of passengers on the ship.
It remains to be seen whether the number of sickened passengers in this recent incident will rise or where the infection started. However, if a cruise ship is not cleaned properly or if food preparers do not take safety precautions, such as washing their hands after using the restroom, it could lead to an outbreak of gastrointestinal illnesses such as norovirus.
If a person contracts food poisoning, norovirus or any other type of illness that can be traced to negligence on the part of the cruise ship or one of its employees, that person may want to determine whether they can bring a personal injury claim against the responsible parties. This is especially true if the harm the individual suffered was severe and long-lasting. A cruise ship accident attorney can be a good resource of information in such situations.