The world’s last active ocean liner, Cunard Line’s RMS Queen Mary 2, made headlines last week when it was reported that as many as 201 of its passengers and crew members reported suffering from gastrointestinal illnesses and 19 showed active symptoms of norovirus. It was the second cruise ship that week that had reported an outbreak of the dangerous virus. However, a follow up report released by Cunard Line on Wednesday, January 2, states that only two passengers and 16 crew members had suspected cases of norovirus.
Norovirus is an easily transmissible virus that poses great risk for young children and the elderly. It causes vomiting and diarrhea, and in healthy individuals usually resolves in one or two days. The isolated nature of cruise ships creates an environment where viruses such as these can spread quickly and cause harm to those on board. Cunard Line claims that they took steps to help deter and prevent the spread of the virus by encouraging all passengers who showed symptoms to present themselves to the medical staff on board, quarantining the sick, and dispatching extra crew members to clean and disinfect public areas.
The Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Vessel Sanitation Program has been investigating the situation on the Queen Mary 2, and on Thursday, sent two environmental health officers and an epidemiologist on board to assess the situation. They have released their investigation on their website. To view the full report, click here.