Norovirus suspected on Tampa-bound cruise ship, 104 reported getting sick

Posted at 4:34 PM, Nov 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-18 16:49:40-05

A Holland America cruise ship has undergone a thorough sanitation in the Port of Tampa after 104 people reported getting sick during a trans-Atlantic cruise.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 86 passengers and 18 crew members reported getting sick on the ms Oosterdam. The CDC suspects a norovirus is to blame.

The ship departed from Rome, Italy on November 3 and docked in Tampa on Friday.

The CDC reports 1,843 passengers and 796 crew members were on board.

The CDC sent a Vessel Sanitation Program environmental health officer and an epidemiologist to the to conduct an environmental health assessment and evaluate the outbreak and response activities. 

Specimens have been collected and will be sent to CDC for testing.

According to Holland America, the ship has been sanitized and will depart for their next voyage at 4:40 p.m. on Friday.

Holland America Statement: 

At the first sign of an increase in cases, we immediately initiated enhanced sanitation procedures to interrupt the spread of the virus. This successful protocol has been developed in coordination with the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and includes such measures as thorough disinfection of high-touch surfaces like railings, door handles and elevator buttons; encouraging passengers to use correct hand washing procedures and hand-sanitizing gels placed throughout the ship; isolating passengers with symptoms in cabins; and providing regular verbal and written communication to guests about steps they can take to stay well while onboard and safeguard the health of others.

To reduce the potential further impact on our guests and crew, the ship will conduct a thorough sanitation at the conclusion of the current cruise on Nov. 18 in Tampa, Florida, before embarking guests for the next voyage. The ship will depart as scheduled at 4:40 p.m.

Almost all norovirus outbreaks occur on land and incidents on cruise ships are very rare – approximately eight one-thousandths of one percent (0.008%) of all cruise passengers are affected.

At Holland America Line, the safety and well-being of our guests and crew is our top priority.