Issues are continuing for one U.K. cruise line as two of their ships, the Black Watch and the Boudicca, sailing out of different home ports, are dealing with presumed norovirus outbreaks. We recently mentioned the Black Watch, under the Fred. Olsen Cruise Line, on our blog, for a rash of 130 cases of acute gastroenteritis. The ship is now experiencing its fourth outbreak, where at least 131 of the 737 guests have taken ill, added to a total of 302 cases reported on the ship’s previous three voyages. The most recent surge occurred after the company implemented its heightened sanitation procedures and the ship was inspected by local health officials and the U.K.’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency. The Fred. Olsen Cruise Line is having an outside contractor clean the Black Watch before its next cruise and has notified the upcoming passengers for both ships of the issue.
On the Boudicca, at least 72 of the 760 passengers have taken ill. Disease prevention on the ship has included closing the public toilets and self-service buffets, as well as requesting the guests with symptoms to stay in their cabins for complimentary room service and in-room entertainment. The Boudicca is en route to its berth in Belfast, Ireland, for a thorough cleaning.
Some important points to remember:
- Norovirus can be brought onboard a ship by a new passenger, crewmember, on contaminated food, or by other means, and not necessarily from virus particles remaining on the ship.
- The virus replicates so quickly in our bodies, potentially sheds from our bodies for such a long period of time (including before symptoms manifest), and is so resistant to disinfection, that it is hard to completely remove it from every surface.
- It only takes a few virus particles to make us sick.
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