Thursday, August 2, 2007

Cruise Ship Cleanliness

After the recent outbreak of Legionnaires disease on the Fred Olsen's Black Watch Ship, the question of cleanliness has come up again. While Legionnaires disease is rare (last outbreak on a ship was 10 years ago) this latest incident reminds people of the more common outbreak of norovirus which makes the news every time there is a outbreak on a cruise ship. It is not that these are not newsworthy, but that many times, the news leaves out vital information that can scare people away from cruising. What normally happens is someone, whether passenger or crew, boards the ship already contaminated and unintentionally causes it to spread. This could happen at a concert or a sporting event and still spread, but with the short period together, people would already be home before ill effects took place. Now given the right environment, like a ship, or hospital, or even a school campus, where large numbers of people are spending a lot of time together, it makes it easier to spread and be noticed. The cruise lines take any outbreak at sea seriously and take every precaution to contain and not have a recurrence but their efforts do no good when some passengers don't take precautions them selves. Just about all of us have been in a public restroom and watched as another person left without washing their hands. The best thing to do no matter what kind of vacation you are on is to take the proper precautions yourself. Here is a PDF file that the Center for Disease Control made available for Cruise passengers with tips on how to reduce risks while cruising.

Along with checking into any type of illness, the CDC inspects every cruise ship that stops at U.S. port routinely and post the scores. It also keeps a log of every ship and the dates for any type of outbreak. In 2007 so far (as of this posting), there have been 16 such occurrences according to the their web page.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I always get mad when the news makes it seam like this stuff only happens on the boats.