THE EPOCH TIMES – Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that incidence of a common stomach illness is on the rise on cruise ships.
In an update posted several days ago, the federal agency is now listing 13 outbreaks of norovirus on cruise ships this year, which is the highest number of outbreaks recorded on cruises since 2012.
The most recent reported norovirus outbreak was on June 20 on a Viking Cruises ship in which about 120 passengers and crew members reported being ill out of about 1,200 people who were on board.
Viking Cruises recently told The Wall Street Journal that it believes the viral outbreak “originated from a shoreside restaurant in Iceland where a group of guests dined during their free time” rather than from someone on the ship.
There were only four norovirus outbreaks on cruise ships during all of 2022, even as demand for cruises surged after COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns.
Federal officials estimate that norovirus infects between 19 million and 21 million people each year on average.
Norovirus is one of the most common viral illnesses on cruises, and it has sometimes been dubbed “the cruise ship virus” owing to widespread media coverage of outbreaks. However, the CDC noted that outbreaks on cruise ships account for a small number of all reported outbreaks of norovirus in the United States.
In May, a Celebrity Cruises trip saw about 152 passengers and 26 crew members get sick with the virus, according to CDC figures. Another case in May also saw 246 passengers and 38 crew contract the virus, the data show.
During a Princess Cruises voyage involving the Ruby Princess, about 10 percent of the 2,881 passengers on board displayed symptoms similar to norovirus, according to the CDC.
It’s likely that more outbreaks will be reported in 2023. The Cruise Lines International Association industry group estimates that cruise passenger volume will reach 106 percent of 2019 levels, with some 31.5 million people expecting to take part … READ MORE [subscription may be required]