Earlier today, an Australia media outlet reported 158 passengers aboard Diamond Princess contracted the Norovirus during a 12-day cruise from Sydney to New Zealand.  The cruise ship arrived in Sydney this morning.

The Norovirus causes inflammation of the stomach and intestines resulting in severely uncomfortable nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps. Local health authorities were notified by Princess Cruises of the outbreak.

Director of the South Eastern Sydney local health district, Professor Mark Ferson, reported 158 of the 4,000 passengers and a number of crew members presented at the ship’s medical clinic with gastroenteritis.  He noted that no medical disembarkation or hospitalization was required by any of those affected.

Passengers aboard the cruise ship were informed of the outbreak and those affected were asked to stay in their cabins to minimize the spread of the virus.  The ship reportedly instituted maximum control measures in sanitation, cleaning and hygiene procedures to combat the outbreak and prepare the ship for new passengers embarking in the afternoon for the next 12-day cruise.  The ship’s pools were also drained as an extra sanitation precaution, according to another television news outlet.

Incoming passengers will be advised of the Norovirus spread and recommended hygiene measures.  No information was provided with regards to any waiver of cancellation penalties for passengers who choose not to embark on the ship’s next cruise.

Other recent gastro outbreaks in Australia include an outbreak aboard P&O’s Pacific Eden, Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas and Princess’ Dawn Princess and Sea Princess.  

Photo credit: By Saberwyn (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons