Saturday, February 11, 2012


The Safe Food Handbook has a box entitled "The Cruise Ship Virus" which highlights how frequent Norovirus illnesses are on cruise ships. Most outbreaks - like the recent ones we have had - affect both passengers and crew. So why is this nasty virus such a risk on cruises?

One of the most regular readers ran off a list of reasons to me yesterday. He even added a few that I hadn't thought of when I wrote the book. (Remember - you can get this virus from your food, water, surfaces, or, from contact with sick people). Here they are:

• The food is mass catered and therefore more subject to contamination.
• Buffets are a common feature, and these are known to be particularly risky.
• Passengers are in close physical contact with each other over a period of days or even weeks
• The ventilation systems could be adding to the problems.
• On some cruises, a large proportion of these passengers are senior citizens who tend to be less healthy and more vulnerable to such illness.
• On other "party" cruises, passengers tend to play hard and sleep little, resulting in them getting "worn down" which can also decrease their resistance.
• Passengers tend to keep going, even if feeling a bit ill, since they want to enjoy the cruise they have paid for. This may result in them passing the virus on to others.
• While any ships with outbreaks are very thoroughly cleaned when they dock, while at sea the cleaning of common facilities and cabins may be less than perfect, especially if a large number of crew are also ill and out of action.

To your good health,


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes, its all about catering to a large number of widely diverse people in a cramped space.