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Old 07-24-2006, 06:00 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2006
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Maybe you can help us get the word out about an epidemic of Norwalk virus on Alaskan cruises for the past 2 years. Once you've had it you really never want to get it again. Do you have any recommendations about how to report this or who to report this to?

My husband and I cruised the Celebrity Infinity on Sunday, July 9th for the 7-day Alaska Hubbard Glacier tour. On Thursday, July 13th the captain made an announcement over the PA that the ship was experiencing an outbreak of the Norwalk virus and that special cleaning and food handling procedures where in place. That evening we talked to our wine steward who told us that the ship was in "Code Red" for the Norwalk virus. He said that meant 60% of the people, or 60 people (my husband and I heard it differently), had come down with serous GI symptoms. We had four friends on the ship sailing with us. On Friday three of the four came down with severe symptoms and went to the infirmary where they said approximately 60 people were waiting to see the doctor. This makes me believe that perhaps the "60% of the people" figure was more likely. They also said there was a near mutiny in the infirmary as the crew wanted to shut it down from noon to 4 o'clock PM and the passengers were not accepting this. I do not know how this was resolved.

On July 15th I had a massage scheduled. I was contacted that morning to reschedule as my original therapist was sick with the Norwalk virus.

We got into Vancouver on Sunday, July 16th at approximately 1 o'clock PM and were delayed in Customs for one hour. We were held on board the ship until 6 o'clock PM when our group, Purple 12, was allowed to disembark.

In the taxi line we struck up a conversation with the gentleman in front of use who said he had been violently ill for three days with the virus and this would be his last cruise.

At 10 o'clock PM the day we disembarked my husband came down with symptoms. At 5:30 AM, Monday, July 17th I called the hotel doctor and asked him to come to our hotel room as my husband was in severe distress and I could not move him. The doctor arrived and I explained the events. He said that Norwalk virus is extremely contagious and he would need to "suit-up" before entering our room which he did. He then attended to my husband after which he explained that the ships sailing out of Vancouver to Alaska have been extremely "dirty" with the Norwalk virus for two summers now. He said that he has been called to attend to forty people to treat Norwalk virus symptoms this summer alone and that he was surprised to hear that it had spread to the Celebrity ship as most of his calls had been for Norwegian passengers.

Had we known depth of this outbreak I believe we would have altered our plans. I have had difficulty knowing how to report this and how to get the word out to the general public. I thought I'd post to this forum to educate the public. I know that catching the Norwalk virus is always a consideration when booking a cruise, but my experience, and that of our attending physician in Vancouver, is that this is currently an epidemic. I have searched the internet for information about Norwalk virus outbreaks and have found very little that is current and none regarding the Celebrity Infinity.

After surviving the Norwalk virus missing a port seemed incidental although it certainly marred what probably was a once in a lifetime cruise.
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Old 07-24-2006, 07:29 PM
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You do not need to report this to anyone. The ship is required to report to the CDC if more than 1% of passengers report gastronomical symptoms. The ships are held to a higher standard than land hotels/restaurants. Therefore since your cruise sounds like it had a high outbreak, it has already been reported.
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Old 07-25-2006, 01:50 AM
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pwoolever,

welcome to Cruise-Chat.com.

The outbreak onboard the "Infinity" has been reported to the CDC by the cruise line:

http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/vsp/surv/out...19infinity.htm

According to the report, 125 individuals were affected, including 20 crew (2.1%) and 105 passengers (4.6%).
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Best regards,

Raoul Fiebig

 
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