There have been more than one or two threads started here at Cruise Chat about "stomach flus" and other intestinal outbreaks on ships that those who have been on at least one cruise know as The Norovirus.
Even the media are
beginning to wonder whether some phenomenon short of the Apocolypse is afoot.
Thompson was one of more than 400 passengers sickened by the norovirus on a Celebrity Cruise lines ship in mid-February. That outbreak of gastrointestinal illness is one of eight to hit cruise ships in 2010 — with four in just one week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC has officially tied many of the outbreaks to the norovirus. Compared to 2009, when there were just 15 total outbreaks on cruise liners, the early 2010 figures may portend a very bad year.
I have a theory, since it seems to me many - if not most - of these larger rashes of NV that break out are during the Winter Months in the northern hemisphere.
Winter is when rates are low. I even found a great Egyptian cruise for dirt cheap because let's face it, I just don't come from old money. Well, with the lower rates are going to come an entirely different clientelle than the cruiselines might be used to. Seasoned cruisers are going to buy up the peak season slots, by enlarge. They're more expensive but people who cruise a lot are usually prepared for, and frequently just have the means for that. Cheaper rates is an open door to new people who might otherwise just take the family on the usual coast to coast drive to Wally World.
Those people are going to be comprised of a large sampling of folks who are not familiar with the cruising culture, a large part of which is understanding that when you're out to sea sealed in a steel tank with 2500 other souls for two weeks using the same dishes, hanging out in the same rooms, washing and reusing the same clothes over and over, day after day - one has to take care to wash one's hands and other hygienic tasks others might not take so seriously.
If you ask me, better education about hand washing ... up front ... IN THE LITERATURE ... WITH PICTURES ... can help to reduce these sudden and startling episodes of NV asea. I mean think about it. Has anyone from the cruise lines ever explained to you about hand washing? I can honestly say I learned about NV and the way to fight it, the santizers outside the buffets and how rude it is to touch food without cleaning your hands and letting people see you do it ... from places like this. Not from the companies who technically are responsible for making sure their passengers know the rules.