A Holland America cruise ship has departed from Tampa following and outbreak of what the company suspects to be Norovirus. The ship set sail for the Caribbean after a thorough sanitation process and inspection by the CDC.

After departing from Rome, Italy on Nov. 3, 86 passengers and 16 crew members aboard the ms Oosterdam reported symptoms typical of Norovirus, the leading cause of acute gastroenteritis in US adults. Affected passengers were isolated to their cabins, while the crew began a sanitation process that involved the disinfection of elevator buttons, railing, and door handles, as well as increased hygiene warnings and distribution of hand sanitizers to various parts of the ship.

“We were updated daily by the captain and were told that the cases were subsiding on a daily basis and as of Wednesday of this past week, no new cases had been reported,” passenger Margaret Cabral told WFLA. “As the cruise continued from Portugal to Tampa there appeared to be a large number of passengers who had developed serious coughs and that gave us cause for concern.”

While in the Port of Tampa, the ms Oosterdam was scrubbed and assessed by a Vessel Sanitation Program environmental health officer and epidemiologist. Their inspection and collected specimens will help determine the cause of the outbreak and possible responses.

Photo Credit: Bahnfrend (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons