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02-18-2005 01:07 AM

ATLANTA -- Cruise ships will be required to create a gastrointestinal-outbreak response plan and present it during ship inspections by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Nearly all ships have a response protocol, as the number of gastrointestinal cases has climbed in recent years. But after the CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) finishes a revision of its operations manual in the next few months, the response plan will become mandatory, said VSP chief David Forney.

“From time to time, we’ll have a vessel that comes here just a couple of times a year, and they’ll have an outbreak and they’re clueless,” Forney said.

The VSP inspects all foreign-flagged cruise ships that dock in U.S. ports. The VSP also is looking at changing how it characterizes an “outbreak.”

Currently, a ship has a gastrointestinal outbreak if more than 3% of passengers or crew report stomach-flu-like symptoms. But that can result in cases like Windjammer Barefoot Cruises’ Legacy, which reported an outbreak at the beginning of 2004 because two out of 46 crew members (4.65%) fell ill.

There probably are better ways to describe an outbreak, Forney said. Gastrointestinal illness, although uncomfortable, is rarely life-threatening.

The International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL) has suggested that the VSP use the less-loaded term “increased incidents” instead. “The media grab hold of [the word ‘outbreak’] and turn it into something it isn’t,” said Michael Crye, the ICCL’s president.

askdad 02-18-2005 04:05 AM

As is typical, the media loves a story and that story usually spins as hype. For example A child gets hurt playing a sport, when a second child (out of all the children in the country) gets hurt at that sport we have a national crisis.

The government picks up on this and we have to act with more regulations. Let's face it, a government responsible for making rules and regulations must keep making them or they are out of a job. I wonder how much these additional regulations will end up costing the consumer.

Lets look at gastrointestinal outbreaks on ships. Most passengers fly to the disembarkation port. We all know how sanitary the air quality of airplanes is. The incubation time puts the passenger right in the middle of their cruise. Also when we cruise, we are on vacation. When on vacation we tend to eat and drink differently than when at home. While doing this we are on constantly moving object.

In addition to the above we see children and adults going through the buffet lines, and other places, using very poor common sense about sanitation.

I'm not trying to down play the idea of having some sort of plan in place for any possible problem . I'm sure most quality criuse lines do, or will have this. It's good buisness.

Though it sound like it, I'm not a knee-jerking radical rightwinger. I just feel that when the CDC or other similar organizations get involved there's going to be higher costs associated. Especially when the cruiseline, in this case, along with passengers using common sense can do a better job.

RIDGID 02-18-2005 06:31 AM

Ever notice all the people that don't wash their hands after using the restroom? But then the sign posted in the restrooms reads that all employees must wash their hands before returning to work. Is there a need for a regulation that all people must wash their hands and not just employees? What good are more regulations? Most of regulations that we have now are not enforced.

askdad 02-18-2005 08:22 AM

That's just what I said, common sense or maybe the better term would be common courtesy. I really don't care if someone doesn't wash their hands after using the facilities or blowing their nose etc. Just leave those hands off the same railing other use, and don't pick up food in the buffet, decide it was something you didn't want and put it back. In fact don't use the tongs others will use.

My wife teaches in the inner-city. Shes become a bit obssesive about sanitation. Yes she's one of those who carry hand sanitizer in her purse and uses it religioulsy even just before communion. I assure you I didn't mean any pun. It's paid off in that she has cut her sick time quite a bit.

On our last cruise, a guy lost his cookies right in front of us in the auditorium. The usher tried to get him to stick around until the medical people could talk with him while the clean -up crew did their job but he disappeared. It could have been too much sushi or Corona. He could have had had a GI illnesss however. I wouldn't have been happy if he passed that around.

To be honest, I was feeling a little nauseous at that show too but I think it was the thrid cruise in as many years that we were watching Uber Rossi

Lyn 02-18-2005 09:17 PM


askdad 02-19-2005 09:54 AM

Thanks Lyn, I was just beginning to feel better The really bad part is when the kids see the show and you hear Shirley every where you go all week along

Lyn 02-21-2005 12:47 PM

my hubby and I do the nextel two way thing during the day. Since I'm a fed ex driver, I am in customer's driveways all of the time. I keep my phone in the truck (thank god) but in the summer, when the doors are open or window is down I hear (as well as the customer's) "SHIRRLEYYYY" as my wonderful hubby tries to get my attention. I have been embarrased more then once!

Pollux 02-28-2005 07:55 PM


Though it sound like it, I'm not a knee-jerking radical rightwinger. I
askdad, I'm a rightwinger but you sound more like a Libertarian here Libertarians are against a lot of regulations. I really enjoyed The book "Give Me a Break" by Libertarian John Stossel. Though I don't agree with all of his beliefs, it really helped me understand the POV of a Libertarian and see how they differ from the more left and right wings.

I agree with what you said, btw!

askdad 03-02-2005 01:49 PM


It's funny because many of my friends call me the worlds only "liberal libertarian". Probably because my polical views fit no one category. I'm not against many government regulations, when they serve a purpose. My feeling is that the quality cruise lines will do a good job with this issue and the poor ones won't no matter what the CDC says or tries to enforce. Right now we don't have the reasourses to deal with internal matters or fund a war but we are worried about cruise passengers with the an upset tummy.

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