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S.S. Barf

February 21, 2014



Nasty shipmate: Why norovirus spreads on cruises

Norovirus thrives in closed-in areas such as dormitories, hospitals and cruise ships. About 1 in 200 voyages had widespread illness, estimates CDC. It has not been the best season for cruise ships. By the time the Explorer of the Seas docked at Bayonne, N.J., in late January, more than 600 passengers and crew members were sick to their stomachs. And the Caribbean Princess arrived in Houston the same day after an outbreak sickened at least 192 people onboard. Over the past five years, an average of about 14 cruise ships a year have had outbreaks of diarrheal illness, and the culprit is almost always norovirus, as it was on these two ships.

Norovirus is a genus of genetically diverse single-stranded RNA, non-enveloped viruses in the Caliciviridae family.[1] The known viruses in the genus are all considered to be the variant strains of a single species called Norwalk virus. The viruses are transmitted by fecally contaminated food or water; by person-to-person contact;[2] and via aerosolization of the virus and subsequent contamination of surfaces.[3] Noroviruses are the most common cause of viral gastroenteritis in humans, and affect people of all ages.[4]

Hey, you wanted a theory of everything…

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