Thursday, February 9, 2012

Port Canaveral Cruise Ships Have High Sanitation Rankings In Wake Of Norovirus Outbreaks


PORT CANAVERAL, Fla.  --  In the wake of recent outbreaks of Norovirus in the U.S., passengers should be aware that cruise ships departing from Port Canaveral have received high sanitation ratings from their most recent inspections according to the Center for Disease Control.  Any score above 86 is considered satisfactory.

Disney Cruise Lines' two ships, the Disney Dream and the Disney Magic, received the highest scores of 100 on December 18, 2011 and 99 on January 8, 2012, respectively.

The other cruise ships' inspections and scores are as follows:

Carnival Cruise Lines Ecstasy  99 on August 11, 2011.
Carnival Cruise Lines Sensation 97 on August 21, 2011.
Carnival Cruise Lines Dream 94 on July 9, 2011.

Norwegian Cruise Lines Norwegian Sun 98 on November 19, 2011.

Royal Caribbean International Freedom of The Seas 99 on December 30, 2011.
Royal Caribbean International Monarch Of The Seas 96 on January 6, 2012.

The CDC provides the following information regarding Norovirus:

Noroviruses

Noroviruses are a group of viruses (previously known as Norwalk-like viruses) that can affect the stomach and intestines. These viruses can cause people to have gastroenteritis, an inflammation of the stomach and the large intestines. Gastroenteritis is sometimes called a calicivirus infection or food poisoning, even though it may not always be related to food.

Symptoms caused by noroviruses

Common symptoms: vomiting, diarrhea, and some stomach cramping
Less common symptoms: low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, nausea, and tiredness
This illness often begins suddenly, and the infected person may feel very sick. Normally the illness lasts about 1 to 2 days. Children often vomit more than adults.

Where noroviruses are found

Noroviruses are found in the stool or vomit of infected people and on infected surfaces that have been touched by ill people. Outbreaks occur more often where there are more people in a small area, such as nursing homes, restaurants, catered events, and cruise ships.

Reasons why noroviruses are associated with cruise ships

  • Health officials track illness on cruise ships. Therefore, outbreaks are found and reported more quickly on a cruise ship than on land.
  • Close living quarters may increase the amount of group contact.
  • New passenger arrivals may bring the virus to other passengers and crew.

How noroviruses are spread

People can become infected with the virus by:
  • Eating food or drinking liquids infected with noroviruses
  • Touching surfaces or objects infected with noroviruses and then touching own mouth, nose, or eyes
  • Having person-to-person contact (with a norovirus-infected person) by
    • being present while someone is vomiting
    • sharing food or eating from the same utensils
    • caring for a sick person
    • shaking hands
  • Not washing hands after using the bathroom or changing diapers and before eating or preparing food.

Norovirus infections are not usually serious

Noroviruses are highly contagious, but infections are not usually serious. People may feel very sick and vomit often or get diarrhea, becoming dehydrated if lost liquids are not replaced. Most people recover within 1 or 2 days and have no long-term adverse health effects.

What to do if you get norovirus

Advise the medical staff of your illness. Drink plenty of fluids. Wash hands often.

How to prevent getting and spreading noroviruses

  • Wash hands often. Wash hands after using the bathroom or changing diapers and before eating or preparing food. Wash hands more often when someone in your home is sick.
  • Avoid shaking hands during outbreaks.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer along with handwashing
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